Q:

What do whales look like?

A:

Quick Answer

In general, whales are large, streamlined aquatic mammals with eyes, a mouth, a blowhole and two flippers and a tail that are used for swimming. But within the general category of whales, there is a lot of diversity when it comes to shape, color and texture.

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Full Answer

Whales can have teeth or baleen (a fringed structure on the inside of the mouth), and some whales are hunters while others simply filter small sea creatures through their baleen. Different species of whale have different appearances. For example, the orca whale is shiny and black with bright white spots and a pointed dorsal fin that almost resembles a shark, while humpback whales are a dark gray, almost blue, in color with white undersides and very small dorsal fins.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How do humpback whales protect themselves?

    A:

    The sheer size of a fully grown humpback whale dissuades all but the most aggressive sea predators from attacking them. In addition, whales typically swim in large groups called "pods" to protect smaller, weaker whales and youth. Mothers with calves swimming within a pod are accompanied by "escort" whales, which follow along slightly outside the pod to protect against aggression from competing humpback groups.

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  • Q:

    Are whales herbivores?

    A:

    Whales are carnivores, not herbivores. Herbivores have strictly plant-based diets, while carnivores consume meat. A whale's typical diet includes octopus, fish, shrimp, krill and squid, making these mammals carnivores. A blue whale can consume 4 tons of krill daily.

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  • Q:

    How fast do whales swim?

    A:

    The speed of a whale depends on the species. For example, a finback, the second-largest type of whale, makes short sprints through the water at 35 mph. Normally, it swims about 14 mph.

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  • Q:

    Do whales have bones?

    A:

    Whales, as mammals, are vertebrates and have internal skeletons composed of bone. Whales live in all oceans and seas with the exception of the Caspian and Aral seas.The first whales are believed to have appeared approximately 50 million years ago, based on fossil records.

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