Despite all the progress we’ve made in understanding our world, we still know relatively little about whales. Of course, we have figured out their migratory routes, thanks to GPS tags and collaborated communication around the world, and we know a lot about their surface behaviour and where they raise their young, and if you would like to learn more about these majestic creatures, here is a list of the various species and their average dimensions and lifespan.
- The Humpback Whale – This is one of the large species that has enjoyed an amazing comeback after nearly being hunted to extinction, and they can frequently be seen by booking a Sydney whale watching trip, when you can experience close encounters with these monsters. The average adult Humpback is 12-16m long and could weigh anything from 25-30 tons, and the Humpback lives to an average age of 80-90 years.
- The Blue Whale – The largest creature ever known to have existed, the adult Blue Whale reaches lengths of 30m, which is over 90ft and can tip the scales at an enormous 190 tons. The whale has a blueish-grey appearance and is lighter on the underside and has a diet that consists almost entirely of krill. Blue Whales are though to live for 80-90 years.
- The Minke Whale – The second smallest of the baleen whale species, the Minke Whale has also enjoyed an increase in numbers. Length could be anything from 7-10m and the whales reach sexual maturity at about 8 years old, with weight ranging from 4-5 tons.
- The Southern Right Whale – There are an estimated 10,000 Southern Right Wales in the southern hemisphere, and the adult female can reach lengths of 15m and have been known to weigh as much as 47 tons. There are two species, the Northern and the Southern Right Whale and as far as we know, they do not integrate and both use their respective poles for their main feeding grounds.
- The Gray Whale – The Gray Whale can grow up to 15m and is the only member of the whale family that likes to stay is shallow coastal waters, probably because it feeds on the bottom.
- The Sperm Whale – At over 20m long and weighing 60 tons, the Sperm Whale is one of the larger species, and this creature possesses the biggest brain of all. Their narrow lower jaw contains teeth and its prime source of food is the giant squid, which is found in very deep water and can live to be 90.
- The Bryde’s Whale – Named after Johan Bryde, the man who constructed the first whaling stations in South Africa, the Bryde Whale is seen only in tropical and sub-tropical waters and reaches a length of 55 feet and weighs as much as 45 tons! Average lifespan is 60-70 years.
- The Beluga Whale – Only found in Arctic waters, the Beluga is very distinctive with its white colour and rounded nose, and can be very vocal. They average 4- 5m in length and weigh in at 1.6 tons and are usually found in small groups – while at some times of the year, they gather in their hundreds in shallow estuaries, to feed on the arriving fish.
To really appreciate these gentle giants, book a whale watching trip in Sydney and prepare to be amazed!