Size

The adult Humpback Whale boasts an average length of 11.5 to 15 m.

Weight

These whales weigh between 25 and 30 tons.

Habitat

The Humpback Whale is a migratory animal. In winters, it can be found in the ice-cold waters of the high-latitude seas, where they are able to hunt for krill. In summer, they move downwards to warmer waters in which they breed.

Distribution

These whales can be found in the oceans all over the world at different times of year. They can live in the ice-packed waters of the arctic, or the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.

Diet

This is a baleen whale, meaning that they feed by sieving large volumes of water, which they suck into their mouths through hundreds of hair-like baleen plates. These trap small fish and crustaceans (krill), while the water can simply be pushed out of the mouth again.

Socialization

The Humpback Whale can often be seen breaching, spyhopping and lobtailing playfully, both on formal whale-watching tours and from the shore. It is a slow swimmer, and its curiosity and intrigue has resulted in its following and approaching boats to explore them more closely. Sadly, this has made them easier prey for whale hunters.

These whales often travel alone, but may be part of pods of between three and 15 other Humpbacks. Males might become aggressive with one another, and are often the cause of scarring on the body’s of other males.

The Humpback Whale is acclaimed for its beautiful songs. These are made up by a series of cries, howls, squeaks and moans, which can carry on for hours and travel long distances in the water. This is believed to be an integral method of communication amongst and between whales, and plays an important role in attracting potential mates.

Reproduction

The Humpback Whale will give birth to her calf in the warmer waters of the tropical and subtropical areas. The calf will be dependent on its mother for the first year of its life; swimming alongside her, and often sharing touches with her as an indication of their intimacy. The calf is fed on protein-rich, high-fat milk. The whale reaches sexual maturity at around five years old. Each female will give birth once every two or three years.

Gestation

The Humpback Whale has a gestation period of around 11 months.

Life Expectancy

This whale is believed to have a natural lifespan of about 48 years.

Threats

The population numbers of Humpback Whales took a massive dive with the advent of hunting. Because these whales approached boats easily and inquisitively, they were easy targets. Other threats include fishing nets and pollution.​

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