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.
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
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.Full Answer >
Whales are carnivores, meaning that they subsist entirely on a diet of meat. Whales are part of a larger order of animals called cetaceans, which also includes dolphins and porpoises. All cetaceans are carnivorous animals.Full Answer >
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.Full Answer >
Dead whales can explode as a result of gas pressure building up beneath the thick blubber to the point that the blubber ruptures, ejecting the innards with explosive force. This gas is generated naturally through the decomposition process by methane-producing bacteria present in the carcass of the whale.Full Answer >