Blue Whale

by Josi S.

Appearance

The Blue Whale is gigantic. It can grow from 80 to 100 feet long, and weigh 50 to 100 tons. This is how it got its name. It is blue and it's a whale. It has a long tail, and flukes. The Blue Whale comes as a sudden shock if you see it while you are swimming or scuba diving. It is the largest animal in the world. It breathes air. It is a mammal, not a fish or bird.

Habitat

The Blue Whale lives in the Arctic region and migrates to South America in the winter.
The Arctic region is cold and desolate and the waters have few fish, tons of krill, seals, and of course the Blue Whale. The Arctic Fox lives there too.

A Blue Whale's habitat is most interesting to study. Maybe you have, maybe you haven't guessed that the Blue Whale lives in the ocean. It's a great place to live! The Blue Whale lives all the way from Arctic Canada to around North America. It lives with pods of other whales. It never, ever, ever lives in warm water because its food (krill) does not exist there.

Adaptions to the Region

The Blue Whale adapted to its habitat by having the color blue, being very large and that makes it easy to stay alive owing to the lack of predators. It eats krill in the Arctic so that it can live. It has a thick layer of blubber and it has baleen plates to filter the water out from krill.

Food

The Blue Whale is a large mammal that lives in the ocean and feeds on krill and it feeds upon plankton. Krill is a small shrimp type of creature. The Blue Whale eats almost ten tons of krill a day. The Blue Whale's eating habits are followed in this procedure. First the Blue Whale opens its mouth and swims; next it closes its mouth and what ever is in it, is trapped along with the water. Then the Blue Whale pushes its tongue against the long baleen plates and forces the water out and everything that is in the mouth after that is swallowed.

Families

The Blue Whale lives in large pods; it raises its young and nurses them until they are old enough to eat krill. The Blue Whale is born alive, not hatched in eggs. The Blue Whale's milk is much richer than cow's milk. It would die if only fed on cow's milk. In the Blue Whales family the mother is called a cow, the father a bull, and the baby a calf. They are named after the cattle family.

Enemies

The Blue Whale's only enemy is man. Way back, the Blue Whale was hunted almost to extinction. The Blue Whale was hunted for its thick layer of blubber, bones, and meat, all parts of the body were used. Hunters used things called harpoons to kill the Blue Whale. It was really hard to kill owing to its enormous size.

Interesting Facts

Did you know that there are 7 different classifications of endangered species? Extinct, extirpated, endangered, threatened, special concerns, not at risk, and data deficient. If one special species dies, the whole circle of that chain dies. Like say maybe algae died, then plankton would die, then krill, then the Blue Whale would die. So, if man killed that one species, then man would actually kill 4 species instead of one.

The Blue Whale was once a land mammal. It ate on land, slept on land, and all that fun stuff. It resembled that of a pig. If you dissect a blue whale you will find that it still has residence of hind legs and has fore legs. It started off as a mammal rooting up roots. It migrated towards water and when it drunk it must have tasted krill (its current food.) It moved into the water and ate more and more krill. Over time it started to lengthen and widen. It grew flukes and a long tail because its hind legs kind of went together and it took on a bluish color.

Effects of Human Activity

A Blue Whale eats krill, as you know if you have already read the food section. The problem with krill is pollution. When there's an oil spill there's trouble for the Blue Whale, krill dies. Global warming also affects this cool water-loving mammal. Those factories next to the ocean have gigantic smoke stacks and all the soot and particals fall right into the ocean disturbing the krill, Blue Whale and its food chain all together.

How Can I Protect Blue Whales?

In Canada they passed a rule that your not allowed to hunt the Blue Whale. If hunting was still in progress you could write a letter to the Prime Minister saying that his country is truly great, but the hunting of the Blue Whale must be stopped. You could write to who ever sells harpoons and tell then how many Blue Whales are killed in a year, and say that people have almost hunted this animal to extinction, then they might ban the selling of harpoons.

 

Last modified: April 2003

© Copyright 2003. Calgary Board of Education

All rights reserved.