How Large Is the Largest Whale?

Blue whales are the biggest creature ever known to have existed, even larger than the dinosaurs who once walked the Earth. In reality, the longest blue whale ever measured was 111 feet long—about the length of three school buses parked end to end.

Scientists have identified two reasons for the blue whale’s massive size. First, the blue whale lives in the ocean. Since the ocean covers over 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, whales have plenty of space to grow and swim.

They also utilize the buoyancy of the saltwater in which they live. Whales don’t rely on a skeleton like humans do, due to the effects of gravity. The water surrounding them supports their weight, allowing them to reach such an enormous size.

Even though they are enormous, the blue whale’s diet consists mainly of krill—small shrimp-like creatures. The whale gathers thousands of krill at a time by sucking in huge mouthfuls of seawater. As the whale closes its mouth, it filters out seawater through a special filter called a “baleen,” leaving krill and small fish for the whale to swallow. This behavior is known as “lunge feeding.” Krill can be found in every ocean.

Encountering such a gigantic creature in the ocean may seem frightening, but blue whales pose no harm to humans. In fact, they even have some similarities with us!

Blue whales are warm-blooded mammals. Unlike fish, they must breathe air.

Research also indicates that blue whales are highly social and intelligent. They even have their own form of language used to communicate with other whales. Listen to what they have to say!

Here are some other interesting facts about blue whales:

  • The heart of an adult blue whale is the largest of any mammal.

  • A blue whale’s heart can weigh up to 1,300 pounds and is the size of a Volkswagen Beetle.

  • The tongue of an adult blue whale weighs approximately the same as an adult elephant.

What about baby blue whales? Here are some interesting facts about blue whales’ “little” ones:

  • At birth, a blue whale calf is about the size of a hippopotamus.

  • A baby whale can consume up to 100 gallons of milk every day during its first seven months of life.

  • With that kind of diet, it should come as no surprise that a baby whale can gain up to 200 pounds a day.

Give It a Try

There are numerous ways to communicate using language—not just by using words that are familiar to us! Experiment with different ways to communicate with a friend or family member!

  • Have you ever heard of Morse Code? It is a system of representing letters using short and long sounds. Can you decipher the following message in Morse Code? .– . .-.. -.-. — — . / – — / .– — -. -.. . .-. — .–. — .-.. .. … -.-.– ? You may need to use a Morse Code translator like THIS ONE to assist you. Were you able to figure it out? You can also use the resources provided by Scout Life to write your own message in Morse Code! Give it a try with a friend or family member.
  • Are you interested in learning a new language? Take a look at this article from Babbel Magazine. Does it help you decide which language you would like to learn? Discuss it with a friend or family member and commit to getting started. Perhaps you can learn together!
  • Apart from using language, what other ways can you communicate with someone? Discuss it with a friend or family member and turn it into a game to learn how to communicate without language.

Wonder Sources

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