Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Blue Whales - Larger Than The Biggest Creatures On Earth

By Terry Hunefeld

Blue Whales are fantastic creatures and one of the best places to see them is from Southern California. Whale watching trips go out regularly from San Diego, Los Angeles, Oxnard, Ventura and Santa Barbara.

Blue Whales are the biggest animals that have ever lived on the face of the earth " far bigger than the largest dinosaurs. They have been weighed up to 180 tons which is 20,000 pounds heavier than a DC-10. The largest elephants only weigh a bit over five tons. Blue Whales have been measured by scientists up to 100 feet long, although today the largest average around 75 - 80 feet. They have been measured at more than 110 feet - compare that to the longest dinosaur skeleton of less than 90 feet from tail to nose.

There are many myths about these creatures, one is that the heartbeat can be heard for 20 miles which is ridiculous because nobody can even hear a Blue Whale heartbeat from ten feet away.

A fun fact is that the tiniest seabird in the world, a Cassins Auklet has the same diet as the the largest animal in the world. Both eat the same food: a tiny shrimp-like crustacean called krill. Blue Whales have a series of rods and plates called baleen (in place of teeth). Instead of chewing their food they strain krill from the water and swallow them whole - more than three tons every day.

Blue Whales have been known to interbreed occasionally with the second largest animal on earth, the Fin Whale. Four of these hybrids have been scientifically documented by DNA analysis.

Blue Whales are usually solitary animals. Sometimes they associate with another individual. Scientists do not know how long Blue Whale couples stay together. Very occasionally, Blue Whales can be found in groups of 40 - 50 individuals in areas where there are high concentrations of food - however this is exceptional. Normally, Blue Whales do not form large close-knit groups like some other whale species.

Blue Whales are fast, strong swimmers with an average speed of about 12 miles per hour with an ability when alarmed to move at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour.

Blue Whales populate seas all around the world. The warm waters off California and Mexico are home to one quarter of the worlds entire population during the spring and summer when these areas have a good food supply.

Blue Whales are found throughout the world but scientists do not know exactly where they breed or give birth. Feeding has been documented in both tropical and cold polar waters.

Prior to the 20th Century there were hundreds of thousands of Blue Whales quietly living in seas throughout the earth. However, humans invented weapons to kill these magnificent creatures (exploding bombs and harpoons) then went about systematically destroying every Blue Whale they could find, hunting them mercilessly for nearly forty years until they were nearly extinct. Protection began in 1966 and their population only today slowly recovering with still only 4,000 - 7,000 Blue Whales alive as you read this.

About the Author:

Leave a Reply