smallest baleen whale in North American waters. Sometimes seen
in bays, inlets and estuaries. Very roughly 100 thousand present in
the North Atlantic.
favoured by whalers of old. Endangered. There are less than 350
in the western North Atlantic.
hangs out over the continental shelf. Estimated 5 thousand in
the North Atlantic. First recordings of whale songs made by the US
Navy in World War II, while checking for German U-boats (submarines).
commonly seen off Cape Breton. Estimated 35 thousand in the North
The largest known animal that ever lived on the earth.
Adults can weigh up to 160 tons (145,000 kg). Newborn calves weigh
2 tons (1800 kg). The world population has been estimated at 15
thousand and the majority live in the southern hemisphere.
Thar She Blows!
The blowhole on top of a whale is a nostril. The spout contains air,
moisture from the lungs & oil. The oil absorbs nitrogen from the blood
which helps prevent "the bends" which human divers get when the
pressure around them changes too rapidly.
When diving, whales also
reduce their heart rate
store large amounts of oxygen in their muscles.
What do they Eat?
Relatively small stuff: capelin, which is like a smelt, is 16-19 cm
(6.5-7.5 in) and 20 gm (20 per pound). Capelin also feeds seals, other
fish such as cod & seabirds,for instance puffins. Capelin eats even
smaller stuff, such as plankton.