Is your whale knowledge up to scratch?! Fear not, with this quick guide to a select few of the creatures of the deep, you’ll be clued up just in time for you to try and spot an Arctic whale this season.
These intelligent animals have been known to take on the infamous Great White Shark . They tactically hunt in family pods of up to 40, and work cooperatively to maximize the fruits of their labour. Although Orcas have excellent vision, they use echolocation like bats employ to gauge distances, communicate and hunt, as their clicks rebound from objects and return to their receptors in their lower jaw.
The Narwhal, rather like its mythical land-based counterpart the Unicorn, is famous for its long tusk which is actually one of its two teeth! It grows right through the Narwhal’s upper lip (ouch!) and is believed to be useful for mating rituals i.e. wowing the ladies with their fancy swordsmanship. The females can grow tusks of their own, although they do not reach the same impressive length as the males! They usually travel in pods of 15-20, although have been spotted in gatherings of hundred and even thousands! You may have seen a rather comical Narwhal before without even realizing what it was, here .
A rather vocal creature, the Humpback Whale is a traveler in its own right. The wonderful array of howls, cries and moans it makes are currently being studied by scientists as they try to decipher their meaning, but are currently interpreted as communicative calls to potential mates. Whales travel with their mother when young, and are often seen brushing fins in gestures of affection. Their tail, known as a ‘fluke’ is very handy for their advanced swimming, as they often create enough momentum for a spectacular jump out of the water!
These giants are the largest creatures ever known to roam Planet Earth. They have tongues that weigh as much as an elephant and their hearts as heavy as a car, and can swim at speeds of up to 31mph! They can be heard by other Blue Whales up to an astonishing 1000 miles away and their blowhole is capable of spraying water to a heady 30ft (9m) into the air. If it wasn’t for their sheer size and weight they would make for a pretty mean water pistol!