So colossal are these majestic marine mammals, their hearts alone weigh as much as a car.

Picture in your mind a 10-story-tall animal walking down the street and you probably start channeling images of Godzilla or King Kong. But if you imagine it as a marine mammal and place it on its side, swimming … now you’ve got a blue whale.

Balaenoptera musculus, the blue whale, is the largest animal ever known to have lived on the planet – movie monsters aside. Even at birth it is one of the world’s biggest animals! The planet is covered with amazing, fascinating creatures, but the blue whale ranks among one of the most superlative. Consider the following

 

1. Even when taking dinosaurs into account, the modern day blue whale is the largest animal to ever exist on Earth.

So colossal are these majestic marine mammals, their hearts alone weigh as much as a car. Picture in your mind a 10-story-tall animal walking down the street and you probably start channeling images of Godzilla or King Kong. But if you imagine it as a marine mammal and place it on its side, swimming … now you’ve got a blue whale. Balaenoptera musculus, the blue whale, is the largest animal ever known to have lived on the planet – movie monsters aside. Even at birth it is one of the world’s biggest animals! The planet is covered with amazing, fascinating creatures, but the blue whale ranks among one of the most superlative. Consider the following.  

2. They’re ginormous

They’re gigantic, they’re enormous, they’re ginormous! Generally ranging in length from 80 to 100 feet (24 to 30 meters), the longest one ever recorded was a magnificent 108 feet long.

3. They’ve got huge heart and….tongues !

The largest of animals has the heaviest of tongue and weighs around 2.7 tonnes, which is around the same weight as an African forest elephant, though largest of these elephants are known to gain as much as 6 tonnes. Though there are claims that a blue whale’s heart being as big as a car, so far they could not be verified considering the difficulty in obtaining a proper specimen that was intact. The one time researchers could find a 76.5 feet blue whale that died after getting trapped in ice in Canada, the heart they cut out was the size of a golf cart. Whether a whale bigger than that could have a heart the size of a car is not known.

4. They’re big babies

Not as in sissies, but as in born big. The biggest babies on earth, easily, and at birth already rank amongst the largest full-grown animals. They pop out at around 8,800 pounds with a length of some 26 feet. They gain 200 pounds a day! Their growth rate is likely one of the fastest in the animal world, with a several billion-fold increase in tissue in the 18 months from conception to weaning.  

5. Blue whales can consume 500 kilograms of krill in a single mouthful and get half a million calories from it. That’s 200 times of what they spend in the act.

Blue whales feed almost entirely on krill, small shrimp-like creatures, and a small number of copepods, small fish, crustaceans and squid that get into their mouth. The mouths, when fully expanded, are large enough to hold 90 tonnes of food and water. During their feeding time, they open their mouths wide and lunge at the krill. Then they close their mouths and push the water out through baleen, the bristle-like structures made of keratin present on the edge of upper jaws. If the krill swarm is dense enough, an adult whale can swallow up to 500 kilograms of krill, that’s 457,000 calories, in a single mouthful. In a day, an adult whale can eat up to 40 million krill. They usually lunge only at big swarms because when they open their mouth, the water slows them down almost stopping them. So, small swarms are not worth the energy they would have to spend. blue whale drone

6. Blue whales are seasonal feeders. They can go up to 6 months without eating when they migrate for breeding.

The largest populations of krill are found in the Antarctic and constitute the main food source for seals, penguins, fish, squid, as well as whales. The blue whales gorge on Antarctic krill during feeding season. As they gain more energy than they spend they build substantial energy reserves. They spend these reserves when migrating for breeding to warmer parts of the oceans near the equator, where krill is scarce.
 

7. Compared to other body parts, the brain of blue whales is very small and weighs only 6.92 kilograms, that’s 0.007 percent of its body weight.

Compared to humans or many other animals, the brain of blue whales is proportionately small. However, it still is much larger than humans, and scientists believe that cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) are probably a lot smarter than we give them credit for. The difference between cetaceans and primates is that, for primates the primary sense is visual and the primary means of communication is auditory, whereas in cetaceans both are auditory. The auditory abilities of cetaceans are so advanced that they can send images and receive images through auditory communication. Since, unlike light, flesh cannot block sound, it is possible that they could use them like sonars and even be aware of the inner workings of other animals the way we use sound for medical scanning. With such advanced ability for communication and frontal lobes so large, they also possibly have developed their own language far advanced than our own. In fact, cetaceans can give and receive 20 times more information than we can through hearing and seeing. blue whale diving

8. Blue whales are solitary creatures. Unlike other baleen whales, blue whales travel either by themselves or in pairs, rather than in groups.

Blue whales are usually found traveling alone or in pairs of mother and calf, or two adults. Even when they travel in pairs, they sometimes stay several kilometers apart and so are considered extremely shy creatures. If they do come together in groups, it is at specific times to feed. As many as 50 scattered over a small area of the sea have been seen in locations with high concentrations of food. blue whale kayak

9. They’ve got long lives

While not nearly as old as the Earth’s oldest trees, blue whales are among the planet’s longest-lived animals. Kind of like counting tree rings, scientists count layers of wax in the ears and can determine a ballpark age. The oldest they’ve discovered this way was calculated to be around 100 years old, though the average life is thought to be around 80 to 90 years.  

10. Blue whales are the loudest animals in the world. They can hear each others calls up to 1,000 miles away.

 
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