Whales. Whales are the largest animals on Earth and they live in every ocean. The massive mammals range from the 600-pound dwarf sperm whale to the colossal blue whale, which can weigh more than 200 tons and stretch up to 100 feet long—almost as long as a professional basketball court.
The blue whale is the largest animal ever to have lived on Earth; it is larger than any of the giant dinosaurs were. The biggest recorded blue whale was a female in the Antarctic Ocean that was 30.5 m long (more than 3.5 times the length of a double-decker bus and as long as a Boeing 737plane) with an estimated weight of 144 tonnes (almost the same as 2,000 men!). The tongue alone of a blue whale can weigh as much as an elephant and an entire football team could stand on it!
The heart of a blue whale is about the size of a VW Beetle car and weighs up to 1000 pounds – that’s about as much as 1,111 cans of baked beans!The aorta, a major blood vessel for the heart, is big enough for a human child to crawl through.
In the wild whales live for a long time – generally the larger species living longest. Bowhead whales spend their lives in cold Arctic waters. They may be the world’s oldest mammals and are the longest lived of all whales – possibly over 200 years!
Beluga whales are called the “canaries of the sea” because they make sounds like the little yellow birds.
Sperm whales make the loudest sounds. They have been recorded making a noise at 230 decibels. Blue whales are also very loud. Their call reaches levels up to 188 decibels and can be heard hundreds of miles away. A jet in comparison reaches only 140 decibels. Sounds over 120-130 decibels are painful to human ears.
Male humpback whales sing the most complex songs and have long, varied, eerie, and beautiful songs that include recognizable sequences of squeaks, grunts, and other sounds. The songs have the largest range of frequencies used by whales, ranging from 20-9,000 Hertz. Only males have been recorded singing. They sing the complex songs only in warm waters, perhaps used for mating purposes. In cold waters, they make rougher sounds, scrapes and groans, perhaps used for locating large masses of krill (the tiny crustaceans that they eat).