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WHALE FACTS

Did you know?

  • During annual migration the humpback travels a total of 10,000 km
  • During migration whales do not usually eat but there is emerging evidence that they can “snack” or opportunistically feed along the route – particularly on their way back
  • Migration is for the purpose of mating and giving birth in warm shallow and sheltered waters, which should ensure the survival of the calf as it is born without a blubber layer
  • A female whale is called a Cow, a male a Bull and a baby a Calf
  • The female is pregnant for 11 to 12 months
  • The calf stays with its mother for up 2 years
  • When born the calf can be 3 to 4.5 meters long and weight up to 1 ton (907 kg)
  • In the first three weeks of live the calf can triple its size
  • A new born calf can drink up to 600 litres of milk a day
  • The milk of the female whale is as thick as tooth paste, and very high in fat (45% to 60%)
  • Whales do not mate for life
  • It is the male whale that does all the courting
  • The males sing as part of the courtship
  • Each male has its own distinct courtship song
  • Males have been recorded singing as long as 24 hours during courtship
  • The male takes no part in the upbringing of the young
  • The females and males are ready to mate at the age of 5 to 7 years
  • Whales can live as long as 90 years
  • Whales can grow up to 18 metres in length
  • Whales can weigh up to 40 tonne
  • It takes only one flick of a whale’s tail to launch their massive bodies out of the water
  • Young female whales act as nannies and help with new born calves on the journey back to the Antarctic
  • There is only one known White Whale in the world “Migaloo” (White Fella in the Aboriginal Language)
  • The under part of a whale’s tail is like a finger print – no two are the same
  • When a whale exhales (blows) this air is released at 100 psi
  • When a whale dives they have the ability to shut down one vital organ so as to conserve oxygen
  • In 1962 when whaling was abolished it is estimated the humpback whale population was only 200
  • In 2013 it is estimated the humpback whale population is close to 14,000
  • Humpback Whales increase in population by 11% a year
  • Tonga is the only place in the world where you can swim with humpback whales
  • Dolphins are the smallest member of the whale family
  • Humpback Whales are the 5th largest of the whale family
  • Humpback Whales generally travel in Pods (a group of 2 to 5 Whales)
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