Fun Pygmy Right Whale Facts For Kids

Oluwatosin Michael
Oct 20, 2022 By Oluwatosin Michael
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Pygmy right whale facts about the mysterious cetacean that is different from all living whales.

The pygmy right whale (Caperea marginata) belongs to the Cetotheriidae family and is a cetacean, regarded as the smallest of baleen whales. These whales have a huge body size wherein the head is almost one-fourth of their total length. They live in ocean waters and have a grey body color.

Males and females of this baleen whale species display similar features. The behavior and features of these whales are not like the other whales.

But their jawline is similar to that of a minke whale. They come to the surface but do not blow water like most whales. They just breathe and go below the surface.

Here are some of the most interesting facts about the pygmy right whale (Caperea marginata). Afterward, check out these fin whale facts and bowhead whale facts.

Pygmy Right Whale Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a pygmy right whale?

A pygmy right whale (Caperea marginata) is a baleen whale species. Due to the lack of callosities on its skin and overall similarity with rorquals, pygmy right whales are sometimes mistaken for minke whales.

What class of animal does a pygmy right whale belong to?

A pygmy right whale (Caperea Marginata) belongs to the mammals class of animals. It comes from the Cetotheriidae family. They are cetaceans and as a matter of fact, pygmy right whales are not right whales. Pygmy belongs to the family of baleen whales but displays different habits than them.

How many pygmy right whales are there in the world?

The total population size of pygmy right whales in the world has currently not been determined by scientists. But it is believed that the population of this baleen whale species is stable in its natural habitat.

Where does a pygmy right whale live?

A pygmy right whale (Caperea marginata) lives in the ocean waters around the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans as part of a group.

What is a pygmy right whale's habitat?

A pygmy right whale habitat consists of cold ocean waters. These animals are known to live near coastal waters in summer and spring. They are deep-sea creatures but often surface up to take breaths.

Who do pygmy right whales live with?

Pygmy right whales live as part of a group with fishes of their own species. They are often seen traveling in small groups across their habitat range.

How long does a pygmy right whale live?

The lifespan of a pygmy right whale has not been determined. However, typical right whales have an average lifespan in the range of 20-40 years.

How do they reproduce?

Pygmy right whales are viviparous fishes. It is believed that they give birth to one young every breeding season, like other right whales. Similarly, the gestation period for pygmy right whales is also expected to be around 10-12 months. Not a lot of information is available regarding their breeding habits.

What is their conservation status?

Pygmy right whales are not considered extinct. The conservation status of the pygmy right whale (Caperea marginata) is that of Least Concern by the IUCN Red List of Threatened species, as their population is stable across the natural habitat in the oceans.

Pygmy Right Whale Fun Facts

What do pygmy right whales look like?

Pygmy right whales are gray in color. Their dorsal part is dark gray and their ventral part is light gray. These fishes have two chevron-shaped light gray patches behind their eyes, on their heads. Their baleen plates are very long and narrow.

The baleen plates are cream in color. Their tails are very short and they have a reduced tail area. The jaws of the pygmy right whales are arched which is not enough to distinguish them from the minke whales. Their dorsal fins are dark gray.

Southern Right Whale's tail

*We've been unable to source images of Pygmy Right Whale and have used images of a Southern Right Whale instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of a Pygmy Right Whale, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at

How cute are they?

Pygmy right whales of Cetotheriidae family are cute fishes. Their huge bodies and variable shades make them look beautiful.

How do they communicate?

Pygmy right whales use tactile and chemical means for communication. This sea animal can perceive information by the sense of touch of the surroundings. These fishes use pheromones which are chemical signals to transmit information. They have the ability to excrete and receive these chemical signals.

How big is a pygmy right whale?

A pygmy right whale is a fish with a giant body length. It has a body length in the range of 5-22 ft (1.5-6.7 m). They are four times bigger than an hourglass dolphin in length.

How fast can a pygmy right whale move?

A pygmy right whale (Caperea marginata) is a very fast swimmer in open ocean waters. Its exact speed has not yet been measured by scientists.

How much does a pygmy right whale weigh?

A pygmy right whale (Caperea marginata) is a giant fish with its body weight reaching up to 7,560 lb (3429.1 kg), nearly 44 times bigger than a spinner dolphin in size.

What are the male and female names of the species?

No specific names are assigned to the males and females of pygmy right whales species. They are known as males and females respectively.

What would you call a baby pygmy right whale?

A baby pygmy right whale is called a juvenile.

What do they eat?

Pygmy right whales are carnivorous species. They feed on marine fishes and crustaceans. Their stomach contents suggest that they most commonly eat krill.

The known predators for these right whales are humans and orcas.

Are they poisonous?

Pygmy right whales are not poisonous to humans. If anything they are very useful from a medicinal point of view.

Would they make a good pet?

Pygmy right whales have a very giant body. No household tank will be sufficient to hold them. Hence, they do not make a good pet.

Did you know...

Very scarce, limited, and little information is available on the behavior of pygmy right whales. Their social behavior is thus a secret.

These whales are spotted on the coasts of New Zealand and Australia.

Why are they called pygmy right whales?

Pygmy right whales are known so because of their innate abilities to detect things at a quick pace than normal whales.

What makes the pygmy right whale unique?

The unique feature of pygmy right whales is their skeletal structure. These whales have an additional 17 more pairs of ribs than the other whales. Their ribcage extends up to two-thirds of their body length.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these leopard seal facts and Amazon river dolphins facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable pygmy right whale coloring pages.

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Written by Oluwatosin Michael

Bachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

Oluwatosin Michael picture

Oluwatosin MichaelBachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

With a Bachelor's in Microbiology from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Oluwatosin has honed his skills as an SEO content writer, editor, and growth manager. He has written articles, conducted extensive research, and optimized content for search engines. His expertise extends to leading link-building efforts and revising onboarding strategies. 

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