The blue whale is not only the largest living animal but probably the largest creature the world has ever known. One of greatest recorded lengths for a blue whale is 33.58m (110ft, 2.5ins).

Overview

Illustration of a blue whaleIUCN Red List status: Endangered

Order: Cetacea

Family: Balaenopteridae

Distribution: Scattered areas in all major oceans but mainly in Arctic and Antarctic waters.

Size: Length: 31m (104ft) Weight: 125+tonnes

Life Span: 80 years

Gestation period: 11 months

Food: Small crustaceans

The blue whale is not only the largest living animal but probably the largest creature the world has ever known. One of the greatest recorded lengths for a blue whale is 33.58m (110ft, 2.5ins), but it may be unlikely that any of these huge specimens survive today.

Back in 1947 a female blue whale was dismembered and weighed aboard a factory ship ‘Hashidate Muru’ of the Japanese Whaling Fleet and the statistics recorded. The whale measured 27.12m (89ft) and weighted 136,353kg (134.2 tonnes) when in one piece. This in itself is quite an awe-inspiring size, but some of the other statistics become almost breathtaking. These are just a few of the items recorded that day.

Blood 8,128 kg (8 tonnes)
Skeleton 18,288 kg (18tonnes)
Heart 457 kg (1,300lbs)
Lungs 1,270 kg (1 tonne)
Tongue 3,048 kg (3 tonnes)
Blubber 19,812 kg (19 tonnes)
Skull 4,572 kg (4 tonnes)
Meat 60,962 kg (60 tonnes)
Jawbone 1,524 kg (1.5 tonnes)
Body Girth 13.35m (43’ 6”)
Jawbone length 6.96m (22’ 10”)

Read More: Feeding

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