Bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) are one of the most interesting animals in the world. They live in every ocean and can reach up to 60 feet long. It is said that they can live as long as 200 years, which makes them the longest living mammal on earth!
How much do you know about these gentle giants? Let's get you informed!
Description and Appearance
Bowhead whales are baleen whales, meaning they have a series of plates in their mouth that act as a filter to catch food. They mainly eat krill, but can also consume fish, squid, and other marine mammals.
They have a large head with no dorsal fin (the fin on most animals' backs), and the front is a large, arched mouth. Their skin can be black or very dark gray on their dorsal side (the top of an animal facing up in the water) and white with some brown spots underneath.
Bowhead whales weigh around 100-200 tons! They are larger than any other whale species except for the blue whale. In fact, they are so large that their tongue alone weighs as much as an elephant!
Heavy as they are, their Gage Beasley twins are as soft as a baby’s butt—maybe even softer? The Bowhead Whale Soft Stuffed Plush Toy is insanely cute and fluffy. So fluffy, in fact, that even their supposed thick blubber is enough to make you sleep with just one touch.
Bowhead whales have a very thick layer of blubber around them which helps them live in cold water because it acts as insulation. They can stay underwater for up to 20 minutes before coming up to breathe.
Bowhead whales are very curious and will often swim up close to boats or look at people in the water with their big, dark eyes! They don't tend to act aggressively towards humans unless they feel threatened.
Another interesting fact about bowheads is that no one knows for certain how long these animals live! It's estimated that they can live to be 200 years old, but it could be even longer!
Bowhead whales mainly eat krill, small crustaceans about an inch long. They can consume up to a ton of these shrimp-like creatures per day!
As mentioned before, they also sometimes eat fish and squid. This is especially common in the summer months when their food sources are scarce. When bowheads don't have enough krill to eat, they will also scavenge on dead whales or seals.
Interestingly, bowhead whales have been known to eat polar bears! They usually take a bite out of the bear's flesh, but sometimes they'll swallow the whole animal. This has only been observed a few times and is still somewhat of a mystery how it happens.
Bowheads also like to feed near the bottom of their environment, and they tend to eat more in colder water. This is because krill normally live at the surface of the ocean where it's warmer!
Bowheads are mammals, so they reproduce the same way humans do. They meet and mate during the breeding season which usually happens in the late fall or early winter months.
After mating, the female gets pregnant (for about 13-14 months) before giving birth to a single baby! She can't feed while she's pregnant because her food goes to her baby. She will often lose about two-thirds of her body weight during this time!
After the female gives birth, it's up to both parents to care for their young one. Baby bowheads are around 15 feet in length at birth and can grow really fast because they nurse from their mother for over a year after being born.
The calf will stay with its parents until it's about five years old and then will go off on its own to find a mate.
Distribution and Conservation Status
Bowhead whales can be found in all the world's oceans, but they prefer colder waters near the North and South Poles. They are not considered to be a threatened species, but they are still hunted by some countries.
In spite of this hunting, bowhead whales are still one of the most abundant large whale species on earth! In fact, there are probably more of these whales living today than at any other time in history.
Bowhead whales are not currently considered to be a threatened species, but that could always change. If you want to help these animals, the best thing you can do is avoid participating in activities that could harm them, like whale watching or swimming with dolphins.
Bowhead whales are gentle giants of the ocean. These animals have been around for centuries and show no signs of stopping any time soon! If you want to help protect these whales, the best thing you can do is learn more about them and spread the word. Thanks for reading!