Humpback whale Facts

Humpback whale Facts
Humpback whale is a type of whale that can be found in all oceans of the world. These whales can be easily recognized thanks to their size, large flippers and ability to produce beautiful songs. Humpback whales migrate toward the temperate and cold waters for feeding and toward the warm, tropical water for mating and nursing of babies. Number of humpback whales decreased drastically in the first half of 20th century due to excessive hunt. Although they are protected by law since 1966, number of humpback whales is still only 30 percent of the original number.
Interesting Humpback whale Facts:
Humpback whales are very large animals. They weigh up to 48 tons which equals the weight of 4 adult elephants. Humpback whales reach 40 to 50 feet in length. Females are slightly larger.
Humpback whales have very large flippers that can reach the length of one third of their body size.
Humpback whales usually have grey or black back and white markings on their bellies. White markings are unique (just like fingerprints), and researchers use them for identification of different individuals.
Name "humpback" originates from the hump on the back that can be seen every time they perform acrobatics on the water surface.
Humpback whales are slow swimmers. They usually swim 3-9 miles per hour, but they can reach up to 16.5 miles per hour when they are at danger.
Despite their large size, humpback whales eat one of the smallest animals in the ocean: krill (small crustaceans) and fish.
Humpback whales are filter feeders. They swallow large amount of sea water and filter the food out of it by using baleen plates (which look like a huge comb) attached to their upper and lower jaw.
Humpback whale requires one ton of food per day.
Humpback whales often jump out of the water and splash the water's surface using the tails and flippers. Scientists believe that this behavior plays a role in communication between whales.
Another, more important, type of communication is a song characteristic for male humpback whales. Each population of humpback whales has unique song, which is used to attract females during mating season.
Song of humpback whales can be heard on a distance of 20 miles.
Mating of humpback whales usually takes place during the winter or early in the spring, in tropical (warm) oceans.
Pregnancy lasts 12 months and ends up with single baby. Female gives birth every 2 to 3 years.
Baby usually has 10 to 14 feet in length and can weigh up to one ton at birth. It depends on mother's milk during the first five to seven months. Milk is rich in fat and enables fast growth of the young whale. Baby drinks 100 pounds of milk per day.
Humpback whales live between 45 and 50 years in the wild.

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