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Whales: Blue Whales

© written by Tasha Guenther

Blue whale swimming

NOAA photo library; used with permission under Public Domain

Blue whales or Balaenoptera musculus are a part of the same family as the Grey, Humpback, and Right whales. They exist within the suborder Mysticeti (baleen whales). This means that they have baleen plates instead of sharp teeth! Thus, the blue whale is a very large-sized (in fact, the largest animal in the world) baleen whale. It is, surprisingly, found all over the world's major oceans!

This large whale is a gray-blue colour, with light-gray spots all over its body - hence, where it gets the name Blue whale. The Blue whale has up to 400 baleen plates in its mouth in which it can filter krill for consumption (see dinner); they eat up to 8,000 pounds of krill each day. Now that's a supersized meal, McDonalds!

This whale has a small dorsal fin near the mid-rear of its large body; the dorsal fin, alone however, can be close to the length of a small human.

Blue whales can measure up to 30 meters and can weigh up to 300,000 pounds! No, this is not an extreme exaggeration. Generally, the females are larger than the males, and both genders usually live to 80 years old.

As said before, they are the largest animals ever recorded on earth. Luckily however, they are gentle giants and will not harm humans; though I know I would be stunned to swim in the ocean and come across one of these bad boys!