Archives for tag: humpback whale


Differences Between Sharks And Whales: Which Is A Mammal Or A Fish?

Drawing a clear line between Sharks And Whales can get confusing. Learn which is a mammal and which is a fish. 

Whale Shark: Sharks and whales

A Whale Shark: Despite being called a Whale Shark and sharing several traits with whales, this creature is a fish not a mammal.

If you are anything like most people, you would have at some point thought sharks and whales, especially the very large species, are similar or even related.

Take the example of the largest sharks and whales, for instance.

The whale shark and the basking shark are filter feeders, so are the grey whales, blue whales, and so on. They are

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Humpback Whales Versus Killer Whales: Why Are Humpbacks Saving Seals?

It’s a Humpback whales versus Killer Whales scuffle. But why are these otherwise gentle whales risking their lives to save seals and other prey from killer whales?

A Killer Whale Hunting A Seal In Antarctica; humpback whales versus killer whales

A Killer Whale Hunting A Seal In Antarctica

A marine ecologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) named Robert Pitman was working with an expedition in Antarctica back in 2009 when he noticed something strange in the water.

According to him, a pack of killer whales (orcas) were hunting a Weddell seal and had succeeded in washing it off an ice floe into the water. As usual, the next thing was to go in for the kill. But suddenly, a pair of  Humpback whales swam to the scene.

As he watched in surprise, one of the massive mammals flipped onto its back and carried the seal on its enormous belly. Even when the killer whales came closer to claim their prey, the humpback just arched itself upwards and

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What are the Differences between Whales, Porpoises, and Dolphins?

Whales, Porpoises, and Dolphins are all cetaceans but there are differences between each species.

Narrow-ridged finless porpoise in japan: whales, porpoises, and dolphins

Finless Porpoise, Miyajima Aquarium, Japan. (Photo: ori2uru/Wikimedia Commons, cc 2.0)

Whales, Porpoises, and Dolphins are all members of the cetacean species. They are also referred to as placental marine mammals since they carry their fetus in their uterus during most of the fetal developmental stage. They feed, suckle and give birth to their young ones underwater exclusively.

These aquatic animals are also referred to as “Conscious Breathers” because they can decide when to breathe. This feature differentiates them from sharks. Most sharks need to keep moving around before they can breathe.

But in contrast to sharks, cetaceans can remain motionless in the water when they want to sleep. However, they

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Species Profile: The Common Minke Whale

The Common Minke Whale is the smallest in its suborder and is known for “human watching.”

Common minke whale

The Common Minke Whale is one of two species of minke whales both within the suborder of baleen whales.

This whale is the second smallest in size among the baleen whales. The pygmy right whale is the only one that’s smaller. It has a blackish-gray and sometimes purple color with white underbelly. A white band on each flipper distinguishes the common minke whales from others of its kind.

The common minke whale was initially ignored by commercial whalers during the whaling era because of its

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Lost At Sea: How Whales Lose Their Way Home

Though it sounds strange, whales often get lost at sea. Here are the reasons why.

How Whales Lose Their Way At Sea

Scientists and researchers have not been able to establish a definite reason as to why a whale could get lost at sea and end up on a beach.

Although, there are several assumptions to possibly explain this strange occurrence. Records however show that the phenomenon has been happening since 300BC. But strangely, researchers are now noticing an increase in mass strandings of these creatures especially in recent years.

Unfortunately, it’s still not completely clear why there’s this sudden increase.

From negative human activities, to natural causes, whale strandings are not pleasant in any way and animal

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Species Profile: The Sei Whale

The Sei Whale is the fourth largest baleen whale and an endangered species.

Sei whale with a calf

Sei Whale Mother With Her Calf (Photo: NOAA)

The Sei Whale is another baleen whale and it’s the fourth largest of them after the Blue Whale, the Fin Whale, and the Humpback Whale.

Although it prefers deeper offshore waters, it’s often sighted in most oceans and adjoining seas.

Typically, its body is colored dark steel gray with irregular light grayish to white markings towards the front of the lower body. The Sei whale’s skin is commonly marked with distinct crater-shaped scars caused by wounds

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Is Underwater Sonar Harmful To Whales Or Not?

The debate about underwater sonar and whales has been on for years now. Here are the facts.

Row of military ships: underwater sonar

The debate about whether underwater sonar is harmful to marine life or not, especially cetaceans, has been raging for long now.

Active sonar (sound navigation and ranging), is the transmission equipment used on ships to assist with navigation. But this becomes a problem for some categories of marine animals for example whales and dolphins. That’s because these creatures use echolocation, or bio-sonar systems, to locate predators and prey.

It appears that active sonar transmitters can confuse these animals and even interferes with some of their basic

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Species Profile: The Gray Whale

The Gray Whale resisted capture so much that whalers named it “Devilfish.”

A Gray Whale

A Gray Whale In Captivity (Photo: Marine Mammal Commission/Wikimedia. Public Domain)

The Gray Whale is a medium-sized baleen whale and the only surviving member of its genus and family. This species is a migratory animal that travels annually between its feeding and breeding grounds.

These whales have a hump and a ridge of sharp bumps running down their backs rather than a dorsal fin. They also prefer to stay close to shore – feeding in shallow waters.

The common name, Gray Whale, comes from the contrasting gray patches and white mottling on its dark colored skin. The white patches are the result of barnacles and lice that have attached themselves to the whales’ skins. In

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Whale Collisions: The Little Known Danger That Ships Can Avoid

The risks of Whale Collisions increases with more marine traffic. But they can be avoided.

A Severely Injured Humpback Whale: Whale Collisions

A Severely Injured Humpback Whale (Photo: NOAA)

Whale Collisions have increased in recent years thereby putting pressure on an already threatened group of animals. For instance, collisions with oceangoing vessels killed more than 24 of the 67 right whales found dead between 1970 and 2007.

Many more collisions are not recorded or reported. This undermines efforts to help ensure that effective measures are put in place to reduce them.

Whale collisions are a serious incident because the impact causes severe injuries and even deaths to both the whales and sometimes the human beings using the vessel.

The most commonly affected whale species are humpback whales, blue whales, and the north Atlantic right

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