Introducing World Whale Day
The ocean covers 71% of the Earth’s surface, so it only seems right to give a little nod to marine life. In celebration of World Whale Day, I’m going to be writing about some cool facts about whales. Let’s get started!
World Whale Day is celebrated on February 18 around the globe with the sole purpose to raise awareness of these magnificent creatures, these marine giants, and their underwater habitats.
Whales are creatures that belong to the order Cetacea which also includes dolphins and porpoises.
Furthermore, whales are divided into two suborders: baleen and toothed whales. The baleen whales have a comb-like fringe (the baleen) positioned on the upper jaw.
They are the largest species of whales. The toothed whales have teeth and they prey on fish, squid, other small whales, and marine mammals.
Why Do We Celebrate World Whale Day?
This annual holiday was created in 1980 in Maui, the second largest island in Hawaii, as the main showcase of the Maui Whale Festival. The festival was organized to honor the Humpback whales that swim off of the coast and to raise awareness to protect the species and the waters in which they live.
The whales need more protection today than ever. Recently, over 400 whales washed on the beaches of New Zealand, and around 275 Pilot Whales have died on the shores of Farewell Spit… All these tragic events could be stopped if people will have more respect for nature.
It is absolutely necessary to put a spotlight on the greater good and to do our part to raise awareness of the threats that are preventable. We sure need to stop commercial whaling, we need to stop ship strikes, we have to be aware of the part climate change has in this, and of course all the cumulative threats like marine debris, oil and gas development, recreation boats, and noise pollution.
All these factors play key roles in whale welfare.
Interesting Facts About Whales
- Whales, just like other mammals, breathe air.
- Whales are warm-blooded animals, feed their young with milk, and have very little hair.
- Under the skin, they have a thick layer of fat called blubber. Its purpose is insulation and energy reservoir.
- Gestation period: 9-15 months (depends on the species)
- Number of offspring: 1
- Nursing time: one year or more.
- There are over 80 species of whales.
- While they sleep, one half of the brain sleeps too while the other makes sure they breathe.
- Whales can swim as fast as 30 miles per hour.
- Whales use echolocation to sense their surroundings.
- Whales have been known to live up to 90 years old in captivity and have been recorded swimming up waterfalls.
- They are also able to dive into freezing water without problem thanks in part due to their warm blood that travels through their body without clotting or breaking down.
- The humpback whale has a unique way to communicate. Whales will make deep, loud “oohs” and bellows that can be heard from miles away, which is thought to be a way to scare away predators and communicate with other whales.
- Whales are one of the largest mammals on Earth. They can grow to be 36 feet long and weigh 150 tons. It is estimated that their lifespan is around 70 years.
- Whales have no teeth, and do not chew their food. Their tongues are covered with taste buds, so they can determine what kind of food is in the water.
- When they come into contact with each other in the water, they often slap the water with their tails.
- Did you know that the largest mammalian animal is a blue whale? And that they can live up to 200 years?
- Whales have sex for pleasure.
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