The largest living creature to have ever lived on this planet is a cetacean — a blue whale. The blue whale’s tongue alone weighs as heavy as an African elephant. Imagine that. Nevertheless, they swim as fast as 30 kilometres per hour.
Whales are so fascinating, people from all Territories of Australia flock to Dunsborough for whale watching and see them in their natural environment.
A long list of superlatives
Sperm whales are famous for the length and depth of their dives. They can stay underwater for as long as two hours, and hunt squid, their favourite prey, as deep as 2,000 metres below sea level. The sperm whale is famous for having the biggest brains as well. That explains the size of their heads.
When it comes to blubber thickness, the thick covering of fat stores, the bowhead whale of the Arctic Sea is on top of the list. Meanwhile, the most intrepid ocean travellers are the humpbacks. They migrate from the ocean surrounding Antarctica to the warm waters of Central America. Humpbacks travel the longest distance, but in terms of speed, top marks go to the fin whale.
Some zoologists cite the species of whales to 79 distinct species while others put it at 84. The females of every species usually give birth to only one calf. These animals usually travel in groups. They also hunt together. When swimming or hunting the adults communicate using sounds of various pitches. Each species has characteristic auditory markers. Interestingly, there are species that can mimic human voices.
Whales sleep because they have to rest as we do. Yet, they have to keep half of their brain working so they remember to breathe. They do need to breathe because they are not fish. Like porpoises, seals, walruses, and dolphins, whales are marine mammals.
If you are setting out with family or friends for an amazing day of whale watching in Dunsborough it helps to learn about them. Aren’t they wonderful and amazing creatures?