Monday, October 10, 2011

My Town Monday: Blue Whales Spotted, San Diego CA

Thank you Google Images for this picture of a blue whale. The swimmer is not me.

Endangered blue whales are being spotted off the coast here. This is unusual. While we're pretty good at predicting when gray whales will cruise by, blue whales don't have regular migration patterns. According to the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, the blue whales have come to visit for our krill. Thanks to complicated factors like super swirling ocean waters this year, we currently have an abundance of these shrimp-like creatures. Blue whales are always on the lookout for a swarm of krill. A blue whale might suck back 4+ tons or 40 million krill a day.

Blue whales (they're actually blue-gray) are enormous. In fact, they're the largest mammals in the world, growing to 75-100 feet (depending on the hemisphere). Males weigh about 100 tons, while females, ta dum, can weigh in at a hefty 150 tons. Nursing calves gain 200 pounds a day, which translates to 8 or so pounds an hour and 1 1/2 inches a day! How wild is this?! It's like you could actually watch them grow!

To help you get even more of a sense of how huge these guys are:
~50 people could stand on the tongue of a blue whale
~A blue whale's heart is the size of a car

Blue whales can communicate with each other over hundreds of sea miles. More than heard, their low rumbling sounds are actually felt. This is my favorite fact. Also, they're very fast swimmers. They generally cruise at 12 mph, but can ramp it up to 30 mph when necessary.

It's a good time to go whale watching. The blue whales will be here until Halloween. There are only about 5000 of these creatures in the world.

Oh, and just in case you don't know this, whales have belly buttons. ;)

Here's a link to the official My Town Monday blog for links to more posts about various corners of the world. Always of interest!

Oh, and Happy Canadian Thanksgiving to my fellow citizens!



sources:
http://www.acsonline.org/factpack/bluewhl.htm
http://www.10news.com/news/29413683/detail.html
http://school.discoveryeducation.com/schooladventures/planetocean/bluewhale.html

10 comments:

Beth said...

This sounds like yet another creature I can take delight in – from afar!

Belly buttons... :)

Charles Gramlich said...

gotta wonder what is changing their habits.

Maggie May said...

I didn't know this!

Barrie said...

Beth: Personally, I have to delight in blue whales from the shore. On a boat, I get seasick. ;(

Barrie said...

Charles: Well, we did have a lot of churning ocean water this summer. But what caused that.....

Barrie said...

Maggie May: Crazy, isn't it? And I guess last week (and maybe still this week?), you could see blue whales from the Scripps Piers. Basically, the blue whales were spotted close to shore at Del Mar and La Jolla.

AbaGayleb said...

Wow,It's so weird,the things you learn...and HOW you learn them.Awesome facts!:D
Just a week or so ago,I was at the Chattanooga Aquarium,being there makes me want to help with animals.(:

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

The belly button makes sense...
their hearts are as big as cars! I must tell my sons this fact!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

I have tummy trauma on boats, too, Barrie, but I've seen whales off the Dana Point highlands and they were fabulous.

Jenn Jilks said...

I get seasick, too! BUt I've been whale watching in TOfino. Took a boat around Peggy's Cove and nearly lost my lunch!