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List of Blue Whale Behavioral Patterns

What is the Behavior of Blue Whales?

Blue Whales are the largest animal inhabiting the earth, spanning as long as three school buses. They live in all of the world’s oceans except the Arctic, cruising their way through the water at an average speed of five miles per hour. They are able to accelerate to more than 20 miles per hour for short durations of time. Blue whales swim usually individually or in small groups, with pairs commonly spotted as well. Around 2,000 blue whales live off the California Coast and migrate south to Mexico and Costa Rica. Blue whales typically eat schools of krill or shrimp-like euphausiids that are up to three inches long. They consume their food source while swimming and filter feeding with their mouths open, pushing the water out with their tongues and keeping the krill in their baleen bristles. During feeding season, Blue whales must eat two to four tons of krill a day to maintain their strength and health for their winter migration period when they consume little to no food.

whale breaching

How do Blue Whales Attract a Mate?

Most often, Blue whales attract their mate through song. These mammals are among the loudest species on the planet, releasing a series of pulses, groans, or moans to communicate with other whales who can hear them from up to 1,000 miles away in good conditions. Not only do Blue whales use this noise to communicate with one another, scientists believe they use these vocalizations to sonar-navigate their way around the deep dark sea. Blue whales sing a deep song to attract nearby females. Males may also engage in a behavior where they inflate the skin around their throats to look bigger, create streams of bubbles from their blowholes. They also hit the surface of the ocean with their strong fins. Since the population of Blue whales is currently at a steady increase, there exists more competition for male mates. The deeper the song performed by a male, the more attractive they are to a female. Female whales decide their mate by size and the deeper the song, the larger and stronger the male seems to be.

How Does a Blue Whale Get Pregnant?

For the Blue whale, most reproductive activity including birthing and mating, takes place during the winter months when whales reach an age of sexual maturity which can land between five and 15 years of age. Throughout breeding season, the male mates underwater with the female in a ritual that does vary from species to species. Mating periods include lengthy migrations to designated breeding grounds, as well as ongoing vocalizations from large groups of males. Once the female finds its match the couple performs a courtship of diving, songs and other rituals. This courtship is then immediately followed by mating. Once fertilization has taken place, calves develop in the womb for up to 15 months. Calves are born at about 23 feet long and weigh 5,000 to 6,000 pounds. They are ready to swim right from the womb and are nursed for about six to seven months as they follow their mother on her marine migrations. A nursing blue whale mother produces over 50 gallons of milk a day for their young. Whales generally breed once every 2 to 3 years throughout their average lifespan of 80 to 90 years. It is also not uncommon for both male and female whales to mate various times with different individuals during one breeding season.