Information On Whales


Whale Information
planet whale

There are two main types of whales; whales with teeth and whales without teeth.

The Blue Whale can grow to weigh as much as twenty-one African elephants. Yet not all whales are large. Some whales, like the dolphin and porpoise, are no bigger than a human.

There are over ninety different kinds of whales- from the small porpoise to the giant Blue Whale. The big whales are toothless. And the male toothed whale is larger than a female, but in the toothless group, the female is usually larger than the male.


Baleen( plates in the upper jaw to strain out the small fish they eat) whales' bodies are usually light gray to brown or black on top with a lighter underside. Toothed whale range in color from the pure white Beluga to the black Pilot Whale.

A whale breathes through the opening in the top of its head known as a blowhole. It would drown if it didn't come to the surface for air time to time. Because of this a whale takes short naps many times a day.

Whales seem to have lost their sense of smell, since they spend little time in the air. And its not possible to smell under water. Instead they have developed a well-developed sense of taste. Whales in captivity are so sensitive to tastes that they will refuse food if it has gone slightly bad.

Whales can see very well under the water, but, above the surface they cannot see well at all. Even under water they cannot see far if the water is dirty and murky. Therefore, they depend on their keen sense of hearing. Sounds travel faster in the water than the air, so whales hear sounds quickly, and from far off. Toothed whales can "see" sounds by using echolocation. They can tell the objects size, shape and the direction in which it is moving.


Humpback Whales are known for their singing. Their songs are among the loudest and longest songs heard in nature. Some may last as long as 30 minutes. No one is sure what these songs mean or how they make them.

Twelve species of whales and dolphins are found in the coastal waters and oceans around North America.


The whale may travel thousands of miles each year. Some whales roam the oceans freely, but most travel within a large area- feeding in one place, mating and giving birth in another. Whales usually feed in northern water and travel and travel to southern waters to have their young.

One baleen whale, the Gray Whale, has the longest migration of any mammal in the world. They travel from Alaska to the waters of Mexico. This trip can take three months.

One of the first things a mother whale teaches her baby is when to come up for air. The calf learns by imitating its mother's every movement. Soon the calf has learned what to do, and it is ready to enter the rougher waters of the open ocean


Females usually give birth to one baby, called a calf, every two or three years. Since a baby whale does not have a layer of blubber to keep it warm, it is best if it is born in warm water.

Narwhals and other whales that do not migrate to warmer waters move closer to the shore during the arctic summer to have their calves.

The Future of the Whale

Imagine a century ago when parts of the sea were teeming with whales. But human intervention changed this. The commercial whaling era killed millions of whales and made them into lubricants, cosmetics, margarine and meal. Today, the sight of a whale is sporadic at best and totally absent in many locales previously populated by whales.



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