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The blue whale is the largest living animal known to have ever existed on Earth. It can grow up to 100 feet and weigh up to 200 tons. This mammal lives in the ocean and feeds on krill.
See the fact file below for more information on blue whale or alternatively, you can download our 24-page Blue Whale worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
Blue Whale Facts
- The blue whale, or Balaenoptera musculus, is a type of baleen whale known as the largest living animal on Earth. It’s also called less commonly the sulfur-bottom whale. They grow up to 100 feet and weigh up to 200 tons. The largest size to ever be recorded is 110 feet. It has a huge heart that is said to be as big as a car; a huge tongue, as heavy as an elephant; and a huge appetite for small crustaceans called krill. Female blue whales usually grow larger than males. The largest blue whales live in the Antarctic region.
- Blue whales have a very powerful and commanding voice, which also makes them the loudest animal. Their low-pitched calls that reach 188 decibels can be heard from 1,000 miles away. They also have superb hearing, which is more useful than excellent vision because the deep ocean environment they’re in is dark.
- The body of a blue whale is designed for long-distance swimming. It has a flat head, long torpedo-shaped body, triangular flukes and wide flippers that make them very streamlined. They look light blue underwater but are grayish-blue on the surface of the ocean. They have yellowish undersides because of marine algae that stick to their skin. A blue whale’s curved dorsal fin is found at the back of their bodies.
- Blue whales breathe air and so have to go to the surface to breathe. They breathe in air through their blowholes.
- Blue whales hold their breaths in order to dive to deep waters and catch food. They can eat up to 9,000 pounds of krill in a day and store 2,200 pounds at a time. They don’t have any teeth, rather using bristly and black baleen plates which act like a filter to separate krill from water. This is called filter feeding.
- Because of its size, the blue whale doesn’t have many predators but predators like killer whales and sharks occasionally attack young whales. They live long lives, in fact, they can live up to 100 years, making them one of the longest-lived animals.
- Blue whales travel alone or sometimes in small groups, like twos or threes. They swim at a rate of 5 to 20 miles per hour.
- Blue whales mate and give birth usually in the winter. Female blue whales give birth every three years to a baby blue whale called a calf. It takes 10 to 12 months to carry a calf to term. Blue whales are already massive at birth. They are the largest baby animals and their growth rate is one of the fastest in the world too! A calf relies solely on its mother’s milk in its first year. It reaches maturity and can mate and reproduce when it’s around 5 to 10 years old.
- They can be found in all major oceans, such as the Atlantic, Antarctic, Indian and Pacific Oceans! During the summer, they migrate to cooler waters in the polar regions. During winter, they migrate to warmer waters in the equatorial region.
- Back in the 1900s, whales were killed for whale oil to be used in lamps, cosmetics and soap. Occasionally, their meat was eaten too. This was called the “whaling era” and they were almost driven to extinction.
- From 1904 to 1967, an estimated 350,000 blue whales were killed in the Southern Hemisphere alone. The 1966 International Whaling Commission ultimately gave them protection, and up to this day, it is illegal to hunt them for any reason.
- The World Conservation Union has listed them as an endangered species and they still are as of 2018. The good news is that their population is slowly but steadily increasing. Their estimated population in 2018 is between 10,000 to 25,000.
- Climate change poses a threat to blue whales. Rising temperatures in Antarctica are affecting the population of algae in the area. The fewer the algae, the fewer the krill, which feeds on algae. Because blue whales feed on krill, their survival is at a risk too.
- Other threats to blue whales include overfishing, pollution, and ocean noise. Overfishing issues include entanglement in fishing nets and equipment. The International Whaling Commission has stated that over 300,000 cetaceans (whales included) die each year because of overfishing.
- Because whales communicate by calling underwater, noise from shipping can make it difficult for adult whales to find each other for reproducing.
Blue Whale Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Blue Whale across 24 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Blue Whale worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the blue whale which is the largest living animal known to have ever existed on Earth. It can grow up to 100 feet and weigh up to 200 tons. This mammal lives in the ocean and feeds on krill.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Blue Whale Facts
- Big Blue Beings
- Epic Fact or Epic Fail?
- Whale You Spot Me?
- Big Numbers
- Blues Clues
- Crosswhale Puzzle
- Blue Whale Vocabulary
- The Baleen Bunch
- Blue Whale Acrostic
- Last Whale and Testament
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Link will appear as Blue Whale Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, June 20, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.