Name: the blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) is a large baleen whale. They are the largest animal known to have ever existed.
Appearance: blue whales have long, slender bodies. Their heads are flat with a ridge running from the blowhole to the mouth. They are usually a distinctive blue, grey colour.
Size: there is some uncertainty about how big blue whales can actually grow, as most of the data comes from whales killed in the Antarctic during the first half of the twentieth century. Records suggest that the largest blue whales may reach up to 33 metres long and weigh around 200 tonnes.
Diet: blue whales feed almost exclusively on krill. An adult blue whale can eat up to 40 million krill in a day!
Did you know: a blue whale’s tongue weighs around 2.7 tonnes and their mouths can hold up to 90 tonnes of food. Despite this, they have small throats and cannot swallow objects wider than a beach ball. They used to be found in nearly all of the oceans on Earth until the beginning of the twentieth century when they were hunted almost to extinction. Populations have now started to recover although they are still much lower than the pre-whaling days.
Location: blue whales can be found across the Earth’s oceans, with populations in the eastern North Pacific, Antarctic, North Atlantic, and Indian Oceans.
Best places to see Blue whales
According to reports submitted to WildSide, the best places to see blue whales are as follows:
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Photo credit: janeb13 under a Creative Commons license from Pixabay