Big But Gentle; The Humpback Whale!

Updated: Mar 27



Terrain. Org “Songs of the Humpback Whales”

https://www.terrain.org/2019/nonfiction/songs-of-the-humpback-whale/


What is a Humpback Whale?

Even though these creatures look terrifying, they are surprisingly gentle! Their scientific name is Megaptera novaeangliae! Which means “big wing of New England”. That name comes from their giant pectoral fins, which can grow up to 16 feet long! They look huge but not compared to the blue whale! They are up to the size of a bus, and even though that may seem huge the blue whale weighs up to 330,000 pounds! Thankfully these animals are in the least concerned area, meaning that they are not endangered!


What do Humpback Whales eat?

Humpback Whales are carnivores which means they only eat meat! During the summer months, Humpback Whales spend most of their time feeding and building up fat storage for the winter. Fat storage is also known as blubber. Humpback Whales are picky eaters so they like to eat krill and small fish, but they consume 2,000 pounds of food every day. To catch their prey they use various techniques which involve bubbles, sounds, and their pectoral fins. A technique to catch prey that was seen in the Alaska Waters was called “bubble net feeding”, which involves using curtains of air bubbles to catch their prey.









The Sunday Times “How Humpback whales try to get more lunch for their lunge”

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/how-humpback-whales-try-to-get-more-lunch-for-their-lunge-bjn777t3x


How do Humpback Whales behave?

Humpback Whales are known for their songs. Their songs travel great distances in the ocean! They make all kinds of sounds such as howls and cries that can last hours! Humpback calves are known to whisper to their mothers. Scientists have researched why they do this and studies have shown that they are using the sounds to communicate with other Humpback Whales. In the summertime, they migrate to warmer waters near the Equator. Mothers and the calves like to show a lot of affection towards each other by touching one another with their flippers. A fluke is their massive tail fin that helps them get through the water efficiently. Humpback Whales like to leap out of the water and make a huge splash. But that is not the only movement they do, they also like to slap the water with their flukes and pectoral fins. Another interesting one is when they rise nose first out of the water and do peduncle throws. Peduncle throws are when they raise their entire rear torso and tail out of the water, twist, and slam their lower half down into the water! Scientists are not sure if that behavior is for cleaning themselves are just simply for fun!










Capts Dave's “What Whales and Dolphins You Can Expect to See on Your Tour”

https://www.dolphinsafari.com/what-whales-and-dolphins-you-can-expect-to-see-on-your-tour/


Where do Humpback Whales live?

You can find Humpback Whales in the world's major oceans! This means that they travel great distances during the seasonal migrations, sometimes migrating 5,000 miles! In the North Pacific, some Humpback Whales migrate from Alaska to Hawaii. They can complete the 3,000 mile trip in 36 days. While calving (giving birth) they prefer shallow, warm waters near offshore reef systems or shores. But their feeding grounds are generally in cold, productive waters.










Delmarva Now “Watch for Whales Migrating Along Maryland, Delaware Coast”

https://www.delmarvanow.com/story/news/local/maryland/2018/10/29/whales-begin-migrating-south-along-maryland-delaware-coast/1760905002/


What are some characteristics of the Humpback Whale?

Humpback whales live up to 80 or 90 years. Humpback Whale groups are called pods. They grow up to 48 or 62.5 feet long and weigh 40 tons. They have dark backs, light bellies, pleats (a bunch of folds) on their throats, and a small hump in front of their dorsal fins. Their population size is up to 60,000 Humpback Whales.












Scientific and Academic Publishing “On the Hydrodynamic Effects of Humpback Whale’s Ventral Pleats”

http://article.sapub.org/10.5923.j.ajfd.20180802.02.html


What do the Humpback Whales Offspring act and look like?

Humpback Whales' offspring are called calves. Females nurse their calves for almost a year. Calves stop growing when they reach 10 years old. Females produce a single calf, on average every 2 to 3 years. After 11 months of being pregnant calves are born 13 to 16 feet in length. Mothers are very close and affectionate to their calves. So that means that you are most likely to find them in the same regions of the feeding and breeding grounds as their mother.

Npr. Org “Recordings Reveal That Baby Humpback Whales 'Whisper' To Their Mothers”

https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/04/26/525609671/recordings-reveal-baby-humpback-whales-whisper-to-their-mothers


Sources Used:

https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/species/humpback-whale

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/facts/humpback-whale

https://wwf.panda.org/discover/our_focus/wildlife_practice/profiles/mammals/whales_dolphins/humpback_whale/?