Marine Mammals

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Penguins have a variety of predators, including seals, killer whales and sharks. Additionally, birds, foxes and pumas eat penguins when their ranges overlap. Contrary to popular belief, polar bears are not predators of penguins, as polar bears inhabit the northern hemisphere, while penguins inhabit the southern hemisphere.

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  • How Many Types of Dolphins Are There?

    Q: How Many Types of Dolphins Are There?

    A: There are 42 species of dolphins in the world. There are 38 species of marine dolphins and four species of river dolphins. The normal habitat for dolphins is saltwater, but some do live in freshwater. Dolphins are generally found in the shallow coastal waters of warm locations.
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  • What Sound Does a Walrus Make?

    Q: What Sound Does a Walrus Make?

    A: Walruses are very loud and vocal animals that make an extraordinary range of sounds, including barks, moans, screams, whoops, wails, bellows, growls, snorts, sniffles and knocking sounds. Male walruses also sing complex and lengthy songs during breeding season.
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  • How Do Harbor Seals Protect Themselves?

    Q: How Do Harbor Seals Protect Themselves?

    A: Harbor seals defend themselves from humans and predators by relying on their sensitive hearing to alert them and allow them to vacate the area. During the breeding season, males protect their territory from rival males by engaging in stylized fighting. While strong and fast swimmers, harbor seals lack other defense mechanisms and often fall prey to killer whales, sharks and the occasional coyote or bobcat.
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  • Do Whales Have Hair?

    Q: Do Whales Have Hair?

    A: Whales have hair, as all species of whales are aquatic mammals. Instead of having scales, like most other marine animals, whales have a fine layer of hair over their bodies.
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  • What Are Baby Seals Called?

    Q: What Are Baby Seals Called?

    A: Newborn and baby seals are commonly referred to as pups until they are 5 years old. After the five-year mark, young seals are called yearlings.
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  • Did Whales Have Legs?

    Q: Did Whales Have Legs?

    A: Ancestors of modern-day whales, such as Pakicetus, were amphibious cetaceans and possessed legs. Ambulocetus, a descendant of Pakicetus, had shorter legs more suited for aquatic life in addition to paddle-shaped feet.
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  • How Do Humpback Whales Protect Themselves?

    Q: How Do Humpback Whales Protect Themselves?

    A: The sheer size of a fully grown humpback whale dissuades all but the most aggressive sea predators from attacking them. In addition, whales typically swim in large groups called "pods" to protect smaller, weaker whales and youth. Mothers with calves swimming within a pod are accompanied by "escort" whales, which follow along slightly outside the pod to protect against aggression from competing humpback groups.
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  • What Eats Dolphins?

    Q: What Eats Dolphins?

    A: Sharks, killer whales and humans are the primary eaters of dolphins. Dolphins are near the top of the food chain and employ many defensive strategies, so they are not often eaten by predators.
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  • What Is the Killer Whale's Scientific Name?

    Q: What Is the Killer Whale's Scientific Name?

    A: The scientific name of the killer whale is Orcinus orca. Instantly recognized by its black and white color, adult orcas commonly reach sizes of 32 feet and 6 tons or greater.
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  • Do Killer Whales Eat Polar Bears?

    Q: Do Killer Whales Eat Polar Bears?

    A: Generally, killer whales will not eat polar bears, but because they can be opportunistic eaters, if a polar bear presents itself as food the whale may eat it. However, the two animals typically leave each other alone.
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  • How Much Does a Killer Whale Weigh?

    Q: How Much Does a Killer Whale Weigh?

    A: According to Encyclopædia Britannica, a male killer whale can reach a length of more than 26 feet and weigh more than five tons. Females can reach 23 feet and weigh significantly less.
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  • How Far Can a Whale Hear Underwater?

    Q: How Far Can a Whale Hear Underwater?

    A: Depending upon the species, whales can hear each other up to 1,000 miles away. Whales use their sounds to communicate and to navigate the ocean with echolocation.
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  • Do Dolphins Live in Coral Reefs?

    Q: Do Dolphins Live in Coral Reefs?

    A: Dolphins live near coral reefs, but they do not live in coral reefs. Dolphins, like all other ocean species, benefit from a robust coral reef ecosystem, because reef inhabitants maintain the balance of nutrients that helps to normalize water quality.
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  • Where Do Harp Seals Live?

    Q: Where Do Harp Seals Live?

    A: According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, harp seals live in the waters surrounding the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans and can be found between Newfoundland and Northern Russia. The entire harp seal population is distributed into three groups, and each group has its own breeding site.
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  • What Does the Inside of a Whale Look Like?

    Q: What Does the Inside of a Whale Look Like?

    A: Whales are not fish, but mammals, and the inside of a whale looks similar to that of a land mammal. They have skeletons with long backbones, circulatory systems similar to warm-blooded animals, large hearts and lungs, large teeth and inner ears that are adapted to hear underwater. To provide buoyancy, store energy and insulate them against cold temperatures, whales have a layer of blubber under their skin.
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  • How Long Have Whales Been on Earth?

    Q: How Long Have Whales Been on Earth?

    A: Fossil records show that the first whales lived approximately 50 million years ago, according to Encyclopedia Britannica. Primitive whales, belonging to the extinct suborder Archaeoceti, had features in common with land mammals and were the ancestors of today's baleen and toothed whales.
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  • What Do Whale Sharks Eat?

    Q: What Do Whale Sharks Eat?

    A: Whale sharks are filter feeders, which means that they eat massive amounts of tiny crustaceans, plankton and other small organisms. They have specialized passive filter structures in their mouths that allow sea water to pass through and strain out food matter.
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  • What Is a Baby Sea Lion Called?

    Q: What Is a Baby Sea Lion Called?

    A: A baby sea lion is called a pup. When born, pups are usually about 2.5 feet long and weigh between 13 and 20 pounds, but can weigh as much as 50 pounds.
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  • What Eats Bottlenose Dolphins?

    Q: What Eats Bottlenose Dolphins?

    A: Bottlenose dolphins are occasionally preyed upon by large sharks and killer whales. They are common members of the family Delphinidae, or oceanic dolphins, and live worldwide in tropical and temperate waters. Two species of bottlenose dolphin exist: the common bottlenose dolphin and the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin.
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  • What Is a Killer Whale's Niche?

    Q: What Is a Killer Whale's Niche?

    A: The killer whale's niche is at the top of the ocean's food chain. Killer whales inhabit most oceans and are predators that have been known to attack other marine animals, such as sharks.
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  • Do Whales Make Milk?

    Q: Do Whales Make Milk?

    A: Whales are mammals, so they produce milk. In order for an organism to be classified as a mammal, it must have certain physiological features, and feeding their young with milk is one requirement. Whales also have lungs, are warm blooded and have a fine layer of hair.
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