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19 views • April 2, 2017

Facts about the Humpback Whale

Natural World Facts
Welcome to another episode of Natural World Facts! This fact file is all about the Humpback Whale in the series Mammals. - Brief Overview: The Humpback Whale is one of the larger species of whale, with males measuring over 15 meters (50 feet) long, which is still only half the size of the blue whale. They can weigh up to 44 tons (40,000kg). They are powerful swimmers, and use their massive tail fins, called flukes, to propel themselves through the water. They also use these powerful tails to breach completely out of the water before landing with a tremendous splash. Scientists aren't sure if this breaching behaviour has a purpose, such as cleaning pests from the whale's skin, or whether it is simply for fun. The average lifespan is around 50 years. - Appearance: Humpback Whales are grey-black in colour, with a white, patchy underside. When swimming, these whales arch their backs, making them look like a large hump, giving them their name ‘Humpbacks.’ They have unusually long pectoral fins, which are about 1/3 the length of its body, which it uses for swimming and propelling itself through the water. - Diet: Humpbacks prey on a diet of small fish, krill, salmon and herring along with other small prey. They are baleen whales, so have large plates of baleen instead of teeth. During the feeding season, they hunt using a technique known as bubble net fishing, in which a group of Humpbacks circle their prey and blow bubbles around them in order to herd the fish into a tight ball. The whales also create loud vocal sounds to scare the fish to the surface of the water and slap their fins against the water to stun the fish. The whales will swim up and lunge at the fish with an open mouth and engulf thousands in a single gulp. After capturing a mouthful of fish the humpback will then push the water out of its mouth using its tongue and swallow the prey. - Habitat: During the summer months, which is their feeding season, these whales can be found in cold waters in Alaska and Antarctica where there are large quantities of fish and krill. During winter, these whales migrate to locations such as Hawaii and the gulf of Maine to mate. During their migration, these whales are known to travel as far as 16,000 miles (25,000 km) making them one of the furthest migrating species in the world. - Breeding: Humpbacks mate during the winter months, and females have a gestation period of around 12 months. Once born, the calves are looked after by their mother for the first year and, like all other mammals, suckle milk. The milk is 35% fat and contains essential nutrients for the calf. - Status: Today there are at least 80,000 humpback whales worldwide, however at one point these marine mammals were considered highly endangered due to commercial whaling. They have since made a huge comeback and are no longer at risk, however still face threats such as noise pollution and overfishing of their prey items. Natural World Facts is a channel dedicated to bringing you fascinating facts about our natural world and the wonderful animals that we share it with. Subscribe for more videos! Leave a suggestion in the comments for what animal you would like to learn about next. OUR WEBSITE: http://goo.gl/Ngj5V6 TWITTER: http://goo.gl/U4T8JX
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