Marine Mammals

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Dolphins generally give birth to just one baby at a time, which is referred to as a calf. Unlike many animals, dolphins rarely have multiple births. After enduring a gestation period of 9 to 17 months, expectant dolphins part from their pod mates to deliver their offspring alone, typically near the surface of the surrounding water.

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  • What animals eat penguins?

    Q: What animals eat penguins?

    A: 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 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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  • 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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  • 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 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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  • What is a whale skeleton made of?

    Q: What is a whale skeleton made of?

    A: Whales have skeletons that are mainly composed of the same materials as the skeletons of other vertebrates. These materials consist mainly of collagen fibers woven together with small, inorganic crystals, according to the University of Cambridge.
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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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  • How do dolphins talk?

    Q: How do dolphins talk?

    A: Dolphins start communicating from birth by squawking, whistling, clicking and squeaking, according to National Geographic. Members of a pod sometimes vocalize in varying patterns simultaneously, much like people holding different conversations at a party.
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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 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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  • What do otters eat?

    Q: What do otters eat?

    A: Most otters eat crayfish, crabs, fish, frogs and other aquatic invertebrates. The diet of otters varies, however, depends on the species, location of residence and availability of food sources. Small otters generally consume small mollusks, crayfish and crabs, while the largest species eat fish, frogs and even land mammals such as birds, rodents and rabbits.
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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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  • Why do people hunt blue whales?

    Q: Why do people hunt blue whales?

    A: Blue whales have been hunted by people since the 1700s because of the value of their blubber and body parts. Oil is one of the primary products generated from oil blubber. Blue whales have been used for production of oil used in lamps, candles and various beauty products.
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  • How long to baby otters stay with their mothers?

    Q: How long to baby otters stay with their mothers?

    A: 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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  • 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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  • What is the dolphin's habitat?

    Q: What is the dolphin's habitat?

    A: Dolphins live in all of the world's oceans. They are also found in several major river systems, including the Indus, the Ganges and the Amazon. No one species lives in every ocean, but every ocean has at least one dolphin species present.
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  • Are penguins mammals?

    Q: Are penguins mammals?

    A: Penguins are not mammals, even though they are warm-blooded animals. Penguins are one of only a few species of flightless birds left in the world. Many people mistakenly believe penguins have fur instead of feathers because of the extremely tight packing of the feathers on their bodies.
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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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  • How do whale sharks protect themselves?

    Q: How do whale sharks protect themselves?

    A: As the largest fish in the world, whale sharks rely on their size to dissuade predators. Reaching up to 60 feet in length and weighing more than 20 tons upon maturity, adult whale sharks are only preyed upon by orcas and humans.
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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 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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