There’s so much to learn about whales than just their different sizes and diets. When the thought of whales comes to mind, it’s always enormous fishes that filter small planktons from seawater straight to their huge tummies. Cetaceans, the group where whales come from, are more than just these big plankton-eating sea creatures. In fact, this group involves dolphins, porpoises, and 80 more different species.
With their big bodies, there’s even bigger to learn about these whales. They’ve always managed to capture our hearts with how they jump to the surface and speak through moans and clicks––a sweet reminder of how precious human conversation really is. Whales are known for their long migration routes and very deep dives, making them one of the hardest sea creatures to track. However, in this article, we’ll get to the bottom of what made whales what they are today!
Description and Appearance
Whales are mammals and that should explain the bulk of their tendencies and habits as sea creatures. Like humans and other land mammals, whales also have inner ear bones and hair, breathe air, and their female counterparts produce milk through their mammary glands and suckle baby whales! Normally, as mammals, whales are given the ability to grow hair to maintain body heat. But whales, being cetaceans, are equipped with insulating fat most commonly known as blubber. However, they do grow just a bit of hair, but they lose it as they grow older.
Judging by their appearance, you might think that whales are just big fishes––and while I would be 100% on board with you, they aren’t just that. Whales are large sea creatures, yes, but their bodies are streamlined to help them swim more efficiently. Cetaceans’ tail flukes move vertically through the water instead of typical fishes that move their tails horizontally back and forth. Their flippers are used for steering and their dorsal fins are helpful for stability. At just one sight, their sheer size is unfathomable. The Blue Whale, for example, can reach more than 100 feet and can weigh tons twice that. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have it beside you, can it? Gage Beasley makes that a possibility with their Blue Whale Soft Stuffed Plush Pillow Toy––reaching not a hundred feet, but 85 cm at best. It’s cute and huggable, making for a great whale friend!
Gage Beasley’s Blue Whale Soft Stuffed Plush Pillow Toy
When you think of whales, the first whale that probably crosses your mind looks like the classic Sperm Whale. Boasting blue skin and white ventral pleats (the underside of the whale), the Sperm Whale is one of the most esteemed whale species in the world. If you didn’t know, Moby Dick was inspired by a giant boat-attacking Sperm Whale! However, I can assure you that it won’t be attacking you in your sleep. The only thing that Gage Beasley’s Sperm Whale Stuffed Soft Plush Toy attacks is your need for great cuddles!
Gage Beasley’s Sperm Whale Stuffed Soft Plush Toy
Expecting a simple answer, I see. Unfortunately, whales’ diets depend on their species and type. Some species are fond of fish, while some are exclusively attracted to krill and other small crustaceans (as if anything is “big” to them). To make things easier, researchers divided whales into two primary suborders: the Mysticeti (baleen whales) and Odontoceti (toothed whales).
Baleen whales, for starters, have different feeding habits and anatomy. They grow bigger than toothed whales but lack in teeth––so they grow sheets of baleen, a hair-like substance composed of keratin, in replacement for teeth. They eat by taking in a huge mouthful of seawater––and by huge, we really mean huge––and then pushes the water out through the baleen, much like a filter, to leave prey behind. Baleen whales love krills! The blue whale, despite being the largest animal on the planet, lives exclusively by consuming krill.
As for the Odontoceti (toothed whales, dolphins, and porpoises), this suborder lacks baleen but has sharp teeth used to catch fish. Different whale species feed on different fish species. Some love invertebrates while some love fishes. There are really no dietary judgments here in Gage Beasley. The aforementioned Sperm Whale is a notorious toothed whale species. While they do feed on fish, too, their tastebuds crave giant squids! Killer Whales, on the other hand, have a diversified culinary taste. This species loves to eat fish, squid, seals, sea lions, dolphins, and other whale species and marine mammals.
However, there’s one form of Killer Whales that isn’t scary at all––and that’s when they come in the form of a plush toy. Luckily, Gage Beasley’s Killer Whale Orca Soft Stuffed Plush Toy isn’t going to eat other mammals in half. They’ll just lay there beside you in bed, calm as the sea. Admire it in its full black-and-white glory!
Gage Beasley’s Killer Whale Orca Soft Stuffed Plush Toy
Female whales give birth to live you and take the responsibility of nursing them for months. During the breeding season, the male whale copulates with the female through an interesting mating ritual, to say the least, that varies from one whale species to another. Mating is done in forms of migration, vocalization, and, in some cases, violence to see which whale is more dominant.
Once the male and female whales have found one another, the male positions himself over the female––making sure that his belly is touching the female’s side. The male then ejaculates sperm from his penis into the female’s vagina. After fertilization, whale calves usually take 1 year to 15 months to develop in the female’s womb. When born, the calf is ready to swim alongside the mother for at least 6 months. With that being said, whale reproduction is a rather interesting topic, isn’t it?
Distribution and Conservation Status
Cetaceans are known to be ubiquitous––meaning they can be found just about anywhere. They live in deep and shallow waters, no matter how cold or how hot it is. From one pole to the other, longitude and latitudes apart, there’s really no telling where these whales could go. These huge creatures migrate with their needs in mind. Whether it’s about mating or giving birth or waiting for the right season for an abundance of krills.
Despite their big bodies, they swim thousands and thousands of miles in a span of several months to go where their body tells them to be. Now all whales migrate, though, as Bryde’s whales are fond of the warm and tropical waters of the Gulf of California. Other than that, even cetaceans such as dolphins travel distances to migrate, though shorter, compared to baleen whales. As we talk about baleen whales, why not talk about one of the most majestic species of whales there is––the vocally blessed Humpback Whale.
This sea singer moves alongside fellow whales during migration and feeding but tends to live in solitary. But not anymore, it doesn’t have to be alone if you’re the one next to it, right? I’m not talking about the whale itself, but its plush toy counterpart! Gage Beasley’s Grey Humpback Whale Soft Stuffed Plush Toy won’t necessarily sing you to sleep, but it will help you go to sleep.
Gage Beasley’s Grey Humpback Whale Soft Stuffed Plush Toy
Since 1986, there was an international ban on whaling that resulted in many whale populations rising from their low population numbers. However, other species populations have stayed rather low. Just last year, in 2020, North Atlantic right whales are just 450 numbers. Their sister species, the North Pacific right whales, on the other hand, had fewer than 100 whales swimming in the oceans. Both species are considered critically endangered.
One of the biggest concerns, if not the biggest, to whale survival, is being caught up in fishing gear. These fishing gears, though (hopefully) not intended to catch or kill whales, get lost and washed up in different parts of the sea and continues to injure, or worse, kill animals. Sadly, over 300,000 whales die because of these occurrences as it causes deep cuts, drowning, and even starvation––not to mention a potential prey to other predators of the waters.
However, after years and years of efforts from a plethora of organizations, hope for the whale species and its populations continues to rise. With continued protection from the Internation Whaling Commission (IWC), populations can finally rebound just like how the Humpback Whale population in 2016 rose to glory––removing itself from the endangered species list.
Whales are incredibly beautiful animals. They roam throughout all of the world’s bodies of water while communicating with a complex and mysterious system special to only them. Weighing up to as many as over 30 elephants, they really are the giants of the sea. Despite living underwater, however, whales do need air as mammals. Just like humans, they nurse their young and are warm-blooded. Just like humans, they also deserve to live an unharmed life.
All whales alike––baleen whales or toothed whales––deserve to roam the waters freely. Whales have an important role in the health of the environment––even contributing to the carbon of the earth’s atmosphere. However, as you may have seen, their big bodies are not enough to protect them from man-made traps. So, take action for your fellow mammals! Maybe one day you’ll get to sing as beautifully as they do, who knows?