Whales are marine mammals that are composed of a wide range of different groups. These are distributed all over the world. Despite the fact that whales and dolphins both belong to the same order, Cetartiodactyla, dolphins are generally excluded from this group of animals.
They live in the open ocean. This is where they mate, give birth to their offspring, raise their young and feed on prey. They can not survive on land. They can grow to colossal sizes depending on their exact family grouping. In fact blue whales are the largest living things in the world. The sperm whale is the largest toothed creature in the sea.
Some species of whales have females that are much larger than the males. Families, or pods of these whales can sometimes have a matriarchal leader. These animals tend to prefer being social with others of their kind rather than being solitary.
Before they evolved these animals were once land dwellers. Because of this, whales breathe oxygen regularly. However, they can also stay underwater for long periods of time if they need to. In fact, the sperm whale can stay submerged for 90 minutes.
Blowholes can be found on the top of a whales head. These are modified nostrils that can be used to inhale and exhale air. Whales are warm-blooded, with a blubber layer under their skin for stopping them from getting too cold. Their bodies are streamlined, allowing them to travel at fast speeds. This is also helped by their agile flippers.
Vocalisations are common with this type of animal. They can produce a variety of different “songs”. It has been theorised that this is a form of communication that other whales can understand and reply to. This backs up the idea that whales are highly social and group minded.
The distribution of whales is very widespread. However, they naturally prefer colder seas. They usually travel closer to the equator when it is time for them to give birth. Blue and humpback whales are able to travel great distances, sometimes thousands of miles without having to feed.
Annually a male will typically mate with several different females. Conversely the female of the species will space out their mating so that they only commence once every 2 or 3 years. Baby whales, or “calves” tend to be born during either the spring or summer. The females raise the calves. The males on the other hand do not bear any responsibility for the infant.