Blue Whale's Song: Interesting Facts About The Biggest Mammals

Aashita Dhingra
Oct 31, 2023 By Aashita Dhingra
Originally Published on Dec 06, 2021
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A Baby Humpback Whale Plays Near the Surface in Blue Water.

Did you know that blue whales are the largest animals on this planet but are an endangered species?

Blue whales are also the heaviest marine mammals roaming around open oceans. Blue whales are one of most the intelligent animal species on this planet.

These whales have the ability to sing and whale songs are a beautiful signal they use to communicate with each other in the oceans. Researchers and musicians are interested to know about the mystery behind blue whale songs, their population distribution, the features of different whale species, and their excellent and sophisticated method of communicating with each other.

There are many recordings of whale songs that are used as therapy and for research. The whales sing in the ocean environment to communicate and attract female whales. This shows the whale's behavior and explores its behavioral traits.

After reading about the researchers' analysis of the hydrophone data on these animals, also check out our facts articles that answer what do humpback whales eat and do whales have hair?

Fun Facts About Blue Whales

Blue whales do not have teeth. They have bristles inside their mouth that help them to filter their food from the water. These bristles are nothing but a fringed-shaped row in the mouth of the blue whale.

You might have seen how the blue whale opens its mouth wide for water and then as it closes, the water is forced out of the mouth. This considerable water intake contains plankton and other small water creatures.

Blue whales use the bristles to trap food and plankton and push the water out of their mouths. The bristles are cleaned with their huge tongue which also helps the whale to swallow the plankton.

Did you know when a blue whale opens its mouth to eat food it can burn up to 2000 calories?

Can you imagine a blue whale having a tongue that is equally big as that of an elephant? The weight of its tongue is approximate to an average car or an elephant. The whale uses its tongue to clean the krill that is stuck in the plates in its mouth.

Blue whales hunted for whale oil which has been used widely in making soap, oil lamps, and margarine since ancient times. During the 1900s there were extreme hunting cases of blue whales that left a huge impact on their population. The whale oil is secured from their blubber and thousands of whales are killed for this purpose.

Blue whales are hunted for various reasons as per the records and excessive hunting accounts for killing approximately 3800,00 whales. Hence, they are almost on the verge of extinction.

In 1966, blue whales were protected by the International Whaling Commission which then permitted the blue whales to breed harmlessly and in a safe manner. Now, the population of blue whales is gradually increasing although it hasn't grown enough to match the previous levels of population.

Researchers and studies also suggest that ship collisions and speeding vessels within shipping lanes are also a threat to the decreasing population of the blue whales in spite of the 1966 protections.

The weight of a blue whale is equal to 440925 lb (200 met ton). This corresponds to the weight of 150 Honda Civics. There is no doubt that blue whales are the heaviest mammals that live on Earth that are known to humans.

And like most of us, blue whales like to make new friends underwater. If food is readily available, then you can see around two to four blue whales swimming together. Forming a bond is probably one of the reasons why blue whales exist and have a longer lifespan.

They have the ability to create attachments with one another and even other living creatures. They have a happy time in the water and it is common for whales to swim around and travel from ocean to ocean on the planet.

Interestingly, the blue whale will either swim in a pair or in a group. In order to steer themselves when in the water, blue whales use their flippers to get around. The flipper is only 12% of its total size.

It is seen that killer whales tend to prey on smaller whales. It is very rare that they attack adult whales. Since blue whales are generally passive and huge in size, this acts as a safety net from killer whales. It is believed that due to their small size, blue whales see killer whales as pests.

Facts About Whales Singing Underwater

Underwater communication is definitely challenging for marine animals. Since light and smell do not travel underwater, the only thing that moves is sound. Sound travels four times faster in water than in air.

This indicates that marine animals use sounds to communicate with each other. In the dark environment, marine animals rely on vocalization. This is the reason why a chorus of sounds similar to clicks, pulses, whistles, groans, boings, cries, and trills is filling the ocean.

Each discrete population of whales will have a different song. Researchers can eavesdrop on the whales' songs and capture recordings by using underwater microphones which are called hydrophones. This hydrophone data can reveal further information about whale songs, and the recordings can help researchers to answer the question 'why do whales sing?'

Whales are famous for having the ability to sing beautifully inside deep waters. Male blue whales especially love to sing under the ocean.

Although it is not clear why male whales sing, researchers believe that male whales sing to attract female whales. They also use their singing skills and songs to prevent other male blue whales from encroaching. Their singing has been observed mostly during the mating period.

A whale sings below the water's surface. It is at a depth of approximately 50-60 ft (15.24-18.29 m) under the oceans that they sing and they do this for about half an hour or longer at a single time. A humpback whale was once recorded singing for 22 hours.

These singing whales stay in one spot while singing. Their nose is pointed in the downward direction and their tail is pointed towards the surface of the ocean.

If you study the songs of whales, they are extremely complex in nature. Blue whale songs are structured with themes, phrases, and units. Not only are their songs complicated, but they change their songs across the seasons.

As every new season starts, the whales will pick up the song for the current season exactly from the place where it left off the previous season’s song. This intelligent memorizing power of whales has shown that their songs are an evolving masterpiece of music throughout the decades and centuries.

Researchers have also found that every male whale can sing the exact replica of the same song without any changes as long as they stay in one place. Whales songs have become a subject of interest and curiosity for many researchers and animal lovers.

Underwater view of Blue whale

Facts About Their Behavior

Blue whales travel in deep ocean water. They normally travel at a speed of around 5 mph (8.05 kph). If they are chased or hunted, they can speed up to around 12-30 mph (19.31-48.28 kph).

Found in all oceans of the world, blue whales make their presence felt in the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Indian Ocean. However, they are not found in the Arctic Ocean.

As their name suggests, blue whales are believed to be blue in color but their skin is blue-gray in reality. They look blue only when they are underwater.

A blue whale is the loudest and the largest animal in the whole world. The sound of a blue whale inside water is around 188 decibels.

This is much louder than the sound of a jet engine. The blue whale moans, sings, and laughs, all at a low frequency. Obviously, this is not audible to human ears but there is a lot of research being done on the sounds of blue whales and how they communicate with each other.

Apart from this, the blue whale also has impeccable learning ability. They communicate with low-frequency sounds and if the conditions underwater are suitable, then they can hear each other from a distance of 994.19 mi (1600 km).

This clearly depicts that blue whales have feelings like us. It is believed that if a blue whale is reduced, then it will wash ashore to show its affection.

Strange Facts About Blue Whales

The reproductive cycle is very slow among blue whales. The pregnancy lasts for around 11-12 months. The breeding season occurs only once every three years. Hence, blue whales are small families. On average, female whales are seen to give birth to only one calf due to the slow reproductive cycle.

A newborn baby calf has a weight of around 5952.48-7936.64 lb (2200-3600 kg) and a length of around 23 ft (7.01 m). The growth process of a baby blue whale calf is faster. The calf gains about 198.41 lb (90 kg) of weight every day in the very first year of its life.

This shows that a blue whale calf definitely has a massive appetite. A calf generally consumes about 158.50 gal (600 l) of its mother’s milk every day in the first year. A calf needs a caring and nurturing environment for the first year of its life.

Blue whale mothers are seen to be extremely nurturing towards their calves. They will, in fact, lift their calf near the water surface in order to teach the calf to take its own first breath of air. The other friendly females will also help nudge and encourage the newborn calf to breathe.

Coming to their breathing process, blue whales have a blowhole at the top of their body similar to our nose that allows them to breathe. Blue whales come up to breathe fresh air every 5 -15 mins but they can go a long time without breathing continuously.

When a whale surfaces, it exhales through its blowhole. This action releases pressurized air 29.53 ft (9 m) high in the air due to the force of exhalation.

Blue whales are not just the largest animal but they also have a huge heart. The average size of a blue whale heart is around a midsize car. The heartbeats of this huge heart can be audible from 2 mi (3.22 km) away.

Astonishing, right! The heartbeat of a blue whale depends on how deep the whales travel and swim. The heartbeat of a blue whale can drop to two beats per minute when it is in deep ocean water.

When the whales are at the surface of the water, the heartbeats are much faster at around 34 beats per minute. Now imagine their blood vessels. Yes, they are so wide that you could theoretically swim around through their arteries and their blood vessels.

The shape of a blue whale is definitely an inspiration for developing a sea craft. A top view of this mammal will seem like a submarine since it has an aerodynamic shape and size. Aside from its fins, a blue whale is nothing but a natural sea craft in the deep ocean waters.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Blue Whale's Song: Interesting Facts About The Biggest Mammals then why not take a look at do whales die of old age, or are whales mammals?

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Written by Aashita Dhingra

Bachelors in Business Administration

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Aashita DhingraBachelors in Business Administration

Based in Lucknow, India, Aashita is a skilled content creator with experience crafting study guides for high school-aged kids. Her education includes a degree in Business Administration from St. Mary's Convent Inter College, which she leverages to bring a unique perspective to her work. Aashita's passion for writing and education is evident in her ability to craft engaging content.

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