Whales are mysterious, as well as some of the most interesting mammals on planet earth. Because of their immense size and power, they are difficult to study. However, the Internet can tell us a lot about these mammoth creatures of the sea. It is interesting to note that the closest living relative to the whale is the hippopotomas. Since whales evolved from land, they still need oxygen from the air to breathe, but can stay emerged underwater a very long time. The sperm whale can stay underwater for 90 minutes. Whales have blowholes in the tops of their heads with which they take air in and expel air.
Whales were once hunted to near extinction, but are now protected under international law. As a result, whale watching has become very popular worldwide. Whales are mammals which means they are warm-blooded, give live birth, and suckle their young. The sheer massive size of whales is amazing. The blue whale can reach lengths of nearly 100 feet and weigh as much as 190 metric tons!
Some species of whales travel thousands of miles from north to south, and then swim back from south to north when temperatures begin to rise. They migrate from feeding grounds to breed and reproduce, so this means that the young calves must swim back with their mothers during the polar spring. For example, the gray whales travel from Alaska along the coast of California down to the Baja Peninsula to give birth. Then in April, these whales swim back up the coast to Alaska with their young. Blue whales migrate in the Pacific along the coast of California down to Mexico and Costa Rica.
The humpback whale is a gentle giant, and probably one of the friendliest whales. They can reach a weight of 40 tons, and the females are heavier than the males. It is believed that the male communicates through “composing songs” that indicate how fit he is. These whales can be seen migrating off the coast of many locations, including California, Mexico, Quebec, Iceland, South Africa, and Hawaii. Viewing humpbacks is popular because they are famous for their acrobatic breaching. Also, there are places that it is possible to scuba dive and swim with these whales.
Whale watching has become a recreational sport. Probably the best photo opportunity to see a live whale breach would be boat tours which are readily available to the public wherever whales have been sited. Interest in these massive creatures will surely continue to grow as more and more people desire to catch a glimpse of these giants of the sea.
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