Where do humpback whales live



The Humpback whale

Megaptera novaeangliae

Family: Furrow whales (Balaenopteridae)

Humpback whale exhaling



The humpback whale shows little shyness towards humans. The male is 11-17.5 m long, the female even up to 19 m. Humpback whales have a black body with white spots on the chin, neck, pectoral fins and caudal fin (the caudal fin is also called "fluke"). The pectoral fins are very long, the fluke has a wingspan of 2 to 3 meters. As with all whales, the humpback whale's fluke is horizontal and has no bones in either side. Humpback whales usually weigh 25-30 tons (rarely up to 48). The humpback whale got its name because it bends its back when diving, so to speak "humps".

The humpback whale got its name from the "hump" before diving.

Humpback whales show their fluke while diving. She has a typical drawing
where you can recognize every single humpback whale.

Humpback whales usually live to around 30 years, rarely up to 48 years, and there are estimates that they will get older.

The wearing time lasts 11-12 months. The newborn humpback whales are already 4.6 m long and 1000 kg, they are mostly born in winter. The female can only have one young every two years.

Like all baleen whales, the humpback whales eat small animals, e.g. krill (small crustaceans), small fish, octopus and jellyfish. They sift through the water for this food with their mouths. In order to be able to eat well, the food animals have to swim fairly close together. When hunting, the humpback whale can use a curtain of air bubbles from its blowhole to hold schools of food animals together. Sometimes several humpback whales help each other.

Humpback whales migrate several thousand kilometers twice a year (e.g. they live off Alaska and move to Hawaii every year to have their young there). Before diving deep, they usually lift the fluke out of the water. You can swim at 8 km / h. Humpback whales usually live in small groups of 2 to 10 animals. Humpback whales utter very loud calls underwater, they say: they are singing. Humpback whales are considered to be the most famous and best singers among whales.

For example, during mating season, male humpback whales sing love songs that can last over 20 minutes. They usually change the songs of the past year a little, so the always current verses are sung. The songs of the humpback whales of the same marine area are similar, while animals from different regions sing differently. The calls of the humpback whales are so loud that they can be heard for several hundred kilometers (some researchers say several thousand kilometers) underwater.

The humpback whale belongs to the order of the furrow whales, as with all furrow whales its head is pointed. He jumps out of the water more often than the other baleen whales. Its "blow" (the water spray when the whale exhales) is almost 3 m high.

In the past, the whales were hunted by humans in order to obtain oil and meat from them. Today, hunting humpback whales is strictly forbidden.


Text by: Roxy Sc. (Neukirchen, 10 years), Maik Ri. (Cismar, 10 years),
Daniel St. (Cismar, 10 years), Marcel Pe. (Schlüchtern, 14 years), Kim Nü. (Bergedorf, 10 years)
Louisa Fa. (Darmstadt, 10 years)
Photos: House of Nature - Cismar (humpback whale in the north of Iceland)


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Last update of this page: August 20, 2015

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