Q:

How do whales reproduce?

A:

Quick Answer

Whales reproduce by going through a courtship phase and mating. The male and female position themselves belly to belly and line up their reproductive organs.

 Know More

Full Answer

The reproductive cycle of whales begins during the winter months when they leave the feeding grounds for the warmer waters of the breeding grounds. First, males or bulls court the females or cows by singing, showing off their swimming skills and fighting each other. However, both males and females mate with several different whales over the breeding season in order to maximize the chances of reproduction.

Female whales carry their young between 10 and 17 months depending on the species. Once it is time to give birth, the females return to the mating or calving grounds. After giving birth, the calves nurse from their mothers up to 2 years, only being weaned once it can find food for itself. Even after it has been weaned, a calf usually stays with its mother for another year or two.

Whales do not reach sexual maturity until they are 8 to 10 years old and sometimes as old as 15 in some species. Sometimes these newly mature whales stay with their original pod, which is made up of family members.

Learn more about Marine Mammals

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What eats whales?

    A:

    Killer whales, sharks and false killer whales eat whales. False killer whales and killer whales may hunt whales in packs. Humans are largely considered to be the primary predator of whales.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Why are humpback whales endangered?

    A:

    Although as of 2014 humpback whales are no longer listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, major threats to their populations include fishing gear entanglement, collisions by ships, impacts on their habitats from pollution and harassment by whale watchers. Future threats include proposed resumption of commercial whale hunting and offshore development of oil and gas mining facilities.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What do Right whales eat?

    A:

    Right whales primarily feed upon zooplankton, a type of plankton consisting of mostly microscopic live animals. These include tiny crustaceans such as copepods and krill; pteropoda; free-swimming sea slugs and sea snails; and cyprid, which are the mobile larvae of barnacles.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What do whales look like?

    A:

    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.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore