Whales are the world's largest mammal and the gentle giants of our oceans.
Here are 5 facts you may not know about these fascinating creatures.
1. Whales are the largest animals on Earth
The massive mammals range from the 280 kg Dwarf Sperm Whales to the Blue Whale, weighing up to 200 000 Kg: try and imagine up to 24 African elephants standing next to each other, it’s the largest mammal that has ever lived!
2. Whales are separated into two different classes: Baleen Whales and Toothed Whales
Baleen whales have hair-like / bristly keratin “tooth structure” that they use to collect krill, plankton and small fish from the sea. These bristly baleen plates filter, sift or trap the whales’ favorite prey from seawater inside their mouths – these are most often the largest of the whale species
Toothed whales have jaws with teeth that allow them to hunt and kill their prey, which can range from fish squid and sometimes other whales.
They are often smaller than Baleen whales as they need to be more agile in the water in order to hunt and kill their prey with ease.
3. Whales rely on oxygen just like we do!
As part of the mammal family, whales rely on oxygen and need to come up to the surface to breath air. However they have evolved to be able to maximize on every breath they take: each breath they take can use up to 90% of the oxygen they inhale whereas humans will only use about 15%.
4. Whales can’t sleep.
Whales never fall completely asleep, in order to come up for air otherwise they could drown. During periods of rest, only half of their brain will shut down while the other half remains alert in order to react quickly to life-threatening situations such as resurfacing for oxygen or running from predators.
5. Blue whales are incredibly loud.
In fact, among the loudest animals on the planet.
It is said that their song could deafen a jet engine and can be heard for more than 1600 Km (1000 miles) away by other blue whales.
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