The Biggest Animal on the Planet. Meet the Blue Whale

Interactions with humans have taken a heavy toll on the blue whale. Until the beginning of the 20th century, blue whales were abundant in almost all oceans. Sadly, for more than forty years they were hunted to near extinction. Estimates indicate that the current number of individuals is between 5,000 and 12,000 whales worldwide. In addition, they have another series of threats such as possible holes with ships on the high seas, being able to get caught in fishing nets, or global warming that hinders their migratory model based on ocean temperature. We tell you everything you need to know about the largest animal on the planet: the blue whale.

Blue whale dimensions
Blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) are the largest vertebrate animals that have ever lived. Its dimensions are clearly spectacular. Its average size is between 24 and 27 meters in length and weighs between 100 and 120 tons, although there are records of specimens of almost 30 meters in length and 173 tons in weight, making it the largest animal on Earth, not only at present but also the largest that is known throughout history. Its tongue alone weighs approximately 2.7 tons and, when fully open, its mouth is large enough to hold up to 90 tons of food and water.

Feeding
The blue whale consumes large amounts of krill, up to 40 million krill in a day, in addition to other small life forms in the ocean such as copepods. Its feeding is carried out by a filtering system: the whale opens its mouth introducing a large amount of water and krills, closes its jaws, and pushes the water back out through its baleen, allowing the water to come out while capturing the prey held in them.
Feeding a baby blue whale is a full-time job, as calves drink about 380 liters of milk a day.

Reproduction
At the end of each fall, their mating season begins until the end of winter. Females generally give birth once every two to three years in early winter after a gestation period of ten to twelve months. The hatchlings weigh almost three tons and are around 7 meters in length.

Vocalization
Blue whales emit powerful regular low-frequency sounds particularly suitable for long-range underwater communication. This pattern of predictable and repetitive sounds that they emit in a way that resembles the song of humans is often known as the song of the whales.

We leave you an example of the sounds they emit.

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