Marine Mammals

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Different otter species spend different amounts of time living with their mothers after birth. River otters stay with their mothers for about a year, usually long enough for her to become pregnant and deliver a new litter, while sea otter pups can remain dependent on their mothers for a period of five months to a year.

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  • Why do otters hold hands?

    Q: Why do otters hold hands?

    A: While it may appear to be adorable, sea otters hold hands for a practical purpose. The behavior known as 'rafting' is where single sex groups of sea otters numbering anywhere from two to several hundred group together, often holding hands to prevent themselves from drifting apart.
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  • What are the predators of dolphins?

    Q: What are the predators of dolphins?

    A: Dolphins are close to the top of their food chain with few natural predators other than sharks. When faced by a predator, dolphins often circle, head butt or use their tails to hit the other animal in self defense. According to the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program, sharks often attack dolphins from behind or below as shown by bite scars.
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  • Who are the predators of leopard seals?

    Q: Who are the predators of leopard seals?

    A: Leopard seals frequently grow up to 12 feet long and weigh up to 1300 pounds, with only one predator to fear: killer whales. There are anecdotal accounts of sharks hunting leopard seals, but there are no records of this happening on a regular basis.
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  • How fast can dolphins swim?

    Q: How fast can dolphins swim?

    A: The most common dolphin species, the bottlenose dolphin, has a top speed of 21.7 miles per hour. The fastest member of the dolphin family is the killer whale, which can reach speeds of more than 30 miles per hour.
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  • What is the name for a baby whale?

    Q: What is the name for a baby whale?

    A: A baby whale is called a calf. Birth seasons and gestation periods vary among whale species. Most whale calf births are single, but twin births do happen occasionally.
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  • Do whales mate for life?

    Q: Do whales mate for life?

    A: Whales don't mate for life. Some species of whale mate with many different partners in a single year. This most often happens during mating season when many whales gather together to mate and bear offspring.
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  • What do Right whales eat?

    Q: What do Right whales eat?

    A: Right whales primarily feed upon zooplankton, a type of plankton consisting of mostly microscopic live animals. These include tiny crustaceans such as copepods and krill; pteropoda; free-swimming sea slugs and sea snails; and cyprid, which are the mobile larvae of barnacles.
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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 are baby dolphins called?

    Q: What are baby dolphins called?

    A: Baby dolphins are called calves. Female dolphins are called cows, and males are called bulls. A mother dolphin forms a strong bond with its calf, and a dolphin calf usually stays with its mother for three to six years.
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  • How long can dolphins stay underwater?

    Q: How long can dolphins stay underwater?

    A: Dolphins are able to hold their breath for 15 to 17 minutes underwater. Dolphins are actually a type of whale, and they breathe through their blow holes.
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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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  • Do dolphins sleep with one eye open?

    Q: Do dolphins sleep with one eye open?

    A: Dolphins do sleep with one eye open, a skill that is necessary for survival. When dolphins sleep, only half of their brains shut down, which enables them to remain vigilant to the threat of predators and to regulate their breathing to avoid drowning.
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  • Is the blue whale larger than a dinosaur?

    Q: Is the blue whale larger than a dinosaur?

    A: At 170 to 200 tons, the blue whale is larger than any dinosaur known to have lived. The largest dinosaur lived in the Mesozoic Era and was the Argentinosaurus, which weighed up to 99 tons.
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  • How are sharks and dolphins alike?

    Q: How are sharks and dolphins alike?

    A: Sharks and dolphins are alike in many ways, sharing several physical characteristics such as their side fins, dorsal fins and torpedo-shaped bodies. Although these animals vary wildly – one is cold-blooded and one is warm-blooded – they both evolved for underwater speed.
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  • Why do people kill blue whales?

    Q: Why do people kill blue whales?

    A: Whalers once hunted blue whales for their blubber, which was rendered into whale oil. They also hunted whales for meat. The International Whaling Commission banned commercial hunting of blue whales in 1966. Whaling is no longer a major threat to blue whales although they are sometimes taken in illegal hunts.
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  • What do gray whales eat?

    Q: What do gray whales eat?

    A: Gray whales eat a wide variety of crustaceans, such as ghost shrimp and amphipods, along with many other organisms, including polychaete worms, herring eggs and animal larvae. They feed off the ocean bottom, sucking in a large amount of sediment, then forcing it out through their baleen plates. Food items are trapped in baleen filters and are scraped off by the whales' tongues to be digested.
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  • How long do bottlenose dolphins live?

    Q: How long do bottlenose dolphins live?

    A: Male bottlenose dolphins live an average of between 40 and 45 years, while females can live over 50 years. Females reproduce every 3 to 6 years after they reach sexual maturity between the ages of 5 and 10.
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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 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 blue whale's habitat?

    Q: What is a blue whale's habitat?

    A: Blue whales are oceanic animals and have been seen in every ocean. In the Northern Hemisphere, distinct populations exist near Iceland, California and in the region between Newfoundland and Greenland. In the Southern Hemisphere, the whales are often sighted in the Antarctic, and near Australia and New Zealand.
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  • Where do walruses live?

    Q: Where do walruses live?

    A: According to Marine Life at About.com, walruses are primarily located in sub-Arctic and Arctic waters in the Northern Hemisphere. The Atlantic walrus subspecies lives mainly in the water, on rocky coasts, and on ice near Greenland and northeast Canada. The Pacific subspecies calls United States and Russian waters its home. Walruses' depend heavily on sea ice, which they use for giving birth, nursing, shelter, moulting and travel.
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