The blue whale is certainly the largest animal in the sea. It is certainly a very famous animal that most people will know about, but there are also lots of little facts about the animal that people will not know of.
One thing that everyone does know is that the blue is the largest creature in the world, and is in fact the largest animal that has ever lived on planet Earth. Their size will range between roughly 80 feet and 100 feet and their weight will also arrange between the same numbers in tonnes. Usually you will find larger animals in the southern hemisphere then you will get in the northern hemisphere.
Most of the time Blue Whales swim far off shore only surfacing for brief periods usually for only a few seconds at a time. In late summer however many of these creatures gather to feed. Researchers then have a chance to tag them. They can then track them during the winter migration south with satellite tags. With this information, researchers have discovered that these whales mate and give birth in the tropics.
Blue Whales feed during the winter when they mate and give birth. They are twice the size of more commonly known whales. Experts know little about them. An adult female Blue Whale can weigh almost 180 tonnes which is heavier than 25 fully grown elephants. The heart alone is the size of a small car and weighs close to 500 kilograms. They grow to be as long as three buses.
Blue Whales do not have teeth. When they open their mouths, pleats of skin allow their throat to expand letting them suck in krill and tiny crabs. Plankton and krill make up nearly all of the diet of the Blue Whale. The largest animal on the planet feeds on one of the smallest. It takes around one metric tonne of krill to fill a Blue Whales stomach and they can devour three and a half tonnes of these small shrimp-like crustaceans every day.
Cousins of the Blue Whale, humpbacks, generally do not eat during the winter months when they are mating and calving. Blue Whales, however, are three times heavier than their relatives. Blue Whales are so big that they need to eat continuously to keep up their energy levels all year round. Mating and calving require these giants to expend energy and a productive place to provide the fuel.
Blue Whales can also make some of the loudest calls of any animal but we require special technology to hear them. Scientists are capable of decoding certain sounds made by certain whales and attempt to interpret what they may mean by comparing the acoustic signals to the behavior observed.
Scientists attach probes to the whales via a suction. The tags record how deep the whales dive, its pitch and roll and how it approaches its prey. These probes are also used to record surrounding sounds. The sounds the researchers are particularly interested in are the sounds of ships in the shipping lanes. The researchers hope that the information from these probes can answer questions such as how loud the sounds of the ships are compared to the whale and whether and how the noise from these ships affect the whales.
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