The blue whale is an animal of records. At up to 100 feet in length and weighing 400,000lbs, they are the largest mammals ever known to exist. These jumbo jet-sized whales have a heart that’s the size of a car, a tongue that’s as heavy as an elephant and inhabit nearly every ocean in the world. Their name is taken from the color they appear to be when underwater; though in fact blue whales are more a bluish-grey color, with white and yellow pigmentation on their undersides.
Blue whales have a longer, more slender appearance than most whales, with a very small dorsal fin and flippers that are 10-13ft long. They can swim quite fast, up to 31mph, but usually cruise at around 12mph; even slower for feeding. Despite its massive size, the carnivorous blue whale is not a hunter, per se. It instead feeds upon massive schools of krill, a small crustacean not unlike shrimp. Rather than teeth, the blue whale has about 300 rows of baleen plates, which are similar in makeup to fingernails, that are around 3 feet long arranged like a comb. To feed, the whale swims into a school of krill and opens its mouth, engulfing huge amounts of krill and water. The water is then expelled through the mouth, and the remaining krill, stuck in the baleen, are swallowed. Blue whales can eat up to 8000lbs of krill in a day.
Blue whales have a very long lifespan, and usually live for 80-110 years. In a recent article by Discovery News it was reported that blue whales are actually getting bigger! Apparently, when you live in the ocean getting heavier doesn’t make it any more difficult to move around!
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