Whales reproduce by going through a courtship phase and mating. The male and female position themselves belly to belly and line up their reproductive organs.Continue Reading
The reproductive cycle of whales begins during the winter months when they leave the feeding grounds for the warmer waters of the breeding grounds. First, males or bulls court the females or cows by singing, showing off their swimming skills and fighting each other. However, both males and females mate with several different whales over the breeding season in order to maximize the chances of reproduction.
Female whales carry their young between 10 and 17 months depending on the species. Once it is time to give birth, the females return to the mating or calving grounds. After giving birth, the calves nurse from their mothers up to 2 years, only being weaned once it can find food for itself. Even after it has been weaned, a calf usually stays with its mother for another year or two.
Whales do not reach sexual maturity until they are 8 to 10 years old and sometimes as old as 15 in some species. Sometimes these newly mature whales stay with their original pod, which is made up of family members.Learn more about Marine Mammals
Beluga whales defend themselves by blending in with the polar ice caps that they swim near. For example, they often swim by large white chunks of snow in the water to hide from their main predators. They also have superb hearing and distinct voices, so they can call each other for protection. They have strong skin and fins, and their eyes have a protective substance on the cornea.Full Answer >
All whales, dolphins and porpoises belong to an order called cetaceans. Totaling approximately 78 species, cetaceans are divided into either of two groups: the mysticeti and the odontoceti, or baleen whales and toothed whales, respectively.Full Answer >
As one of the world's most unique whales, narwhals have many unusual adaptations, including their reliance on a specialized diet and the long, horn-like tooth of the males. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, scientists still have many questions about some of these adaptations, especially the function of the males’ long tooth. Additionally, narwhals are capable of diving to depths of nearly 5,000 feet below the surface.Full Answer >
Whales are mammals that have an incredibly size range, yet all whales fall between 13 feet long and 90 feet long. The blue whale, the largest known whale or mammal, ranges from around 70 feet to 90 feet. Most other well-known whales, such as the orca, sperm, humpback and minke whale, fall in a range of 20 to 69 feet.Full Answer >