- The Animal Encyclopedia for Kids

Blue Whale

Blue Whale Facts

Size Up to 109.9 ft (33.52 m)
Speed Up to 30 mph (48 km/h)
Weight Up to 200 tons
Lifespan 30-45 years
Food Plankton, krill, small fish
Predators Orcas
Habitat Global oceans
Order Whales
Order Baleen Whales
Family Rorquals
Scientific name Balaenoptera musculus
Characteristics Large whale with baleen plates

Main Characteristics

The Blue Whale is The Largest and Heaviest Animal

The blue whale is the largest and heaviest of all animals living on shore, in the air and in the water. Yet, the longest animal is the slim giant ribbon worm.

Size and Weight

Size and Weight Comparison

It is always difficult to get an idea of big dimensions. Therefore we offer you a few comparisons: The weight of one blue whale equals that of four large brontosauruses, 23 elephants, 230 cows or 1,800 humans. Its tongue alone weighs as much as a young elephant (think of this when you visit the elephants in the zoo next time!). At its birth, a blue whale baby weighs about two tons, just like two small cars. The heart of an adult blue whale is as big as a golf cart.


What Do Blue Whales Eat?

Blue whales munch 4-8 tons of plankton, krill and small fish every day.

How Long Do Blue Whales Dive?

Blue whales come up for air at least every two minutes. Normally, they can hold their breath for 3-10 minutes, in extreme cases even up to 20 minutes.

How Often Does a Blue Whale's Heart Beat?

Even if a blue whale is getting nervous or physically exhausted, his heart only beats about 18-20 times per minute. A human heart would beat more than 100 times in this case.

Blue Whale Blue Whale - Photo: Andrew Sutton/Shutterstock


Can You Hear a Blue Whale's Song Under Water?

Blue whales and fin whales make loud noises that can be heard in distances of up to 528 miles (850 km). They reach a noise level of 188 decibel. Blue whales also have good ears – it is said that they can hear sound at distances of up to 994 miles (1,600 km).

Blue Whale Blue Whale - Photo: Johan_R/Shutterstock


How to Recognize Blue Whales

You can catch a glimpse of a blue whale when it comes up for air. Yet, mostly you can only see a small part of its back. How is it possible then to identify a blue whale? This is easy: Scientists can identify blue whales by their breath when they exhale through their blowhole. This causes the typical fountain, which normally is about 9 m high. With its breath, the blue whale could fill 2,000 balloons simultaneously.

Blue Whale Blue Whale - Photo: powell'sPoint/Shutterstock

The Difference Between Toothed and Baleen Whales

Whales are divided into two categories: toothed and baleen whales. The baleen system consists of longish horn plates, which hang from the palate into the whale’s mouth. Whales use the baleen system to filter plankton from the water. Baleen whales include gray whales, humpback whales, blue whales and minke whales.

Animals in the Same Biome:

Blue Whale Blue Whale - Photo: Joe Morris 917/Shutterstock

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