Humpback Whale

by Jake


Humpback Whales have a stocky body with a hump and black dorsal fin. The head and the lower jaw are covered with knobs which are hair follicles and are only on these species. The fluked tail has wavy trailing edges. The black and white tail fin can be one third length of the body. Unique patterns on pectoral fins. They have 270-400 baleen plates on each side of the mouth.


Only North Pacific, Atlantic and Southern ocean hump Whales migrate. The Indian ocean humpback does not migrate. Humpbacks typically live alone or in small group for a few hours. Usually non-social. They stay in their groups longer during summer while looking for food.


Humpbacks feed mainly in the summer, on krill, small schooling fish like herring , salmon and live off fat reserves during winter. They catch the prey by direct attacks or stunning tem by hitting the water with the pectoral fins and flukes. Hunting is in groups, with some humpbacks herding fish by blowing bubbles to move the prey into a cylinder shape so other whales come from under catching the fish in their 'net' (mouth).


Humpbacks inhabit all major oceans, in a wide band running from the Antarctic ice edge to 77 degrees.Whales were once thought not to be presented in the eastern Mediterranean or the batlic sea


Baby whales are called calves. The gestation period in most whale species is 11 to 16 months. Generally a single young is born, tail first likely in order to prevent drowning, and twins are very rare. The newborn calf is usually one-quarter to a third the length of the mother.

The ‘baby’ stage runs from birth until the calf is weaned, during which time the calf frequently nurses on the mother’s nutrient rich milk. Baleen whales will wean their calves by their first summer when they are less than a year old, while toothed whales take up to three years to be completely weaned. Calves grow very rapidly, thanks to the extremely high proportion of fat and proteins contained in whale milk

The adult whale stage starts when the whale reaches sexual maturity. This can occur between the ages of six and 13 years, varying dramatically depending on the species.

Breeding often takes place seasonally in migrating species but in others it seems to occur through most of the year. In the adult stage, whales of both genders start searching for mates with whom to breed.

Sexually mature whales migrate to warmer waters during winter to mate. This ensures that when they return the next year, their calves will be born in more temperate conditions. Mating takes place every two to three years for the cow as her gestation period lasts for between 10 and 14 months.


The Humpback Whales are very well adapted for moving in their ocean habitat. Their bodies are stream lined like a torpedo and they have the longest flippers (Pectoral fins) of any whale ,which helps to move them more precisely through the water. The humpback whales also have a fifteen foot wide tail used for faster speed when traveling long distances in the water. Humpbacks have a very large body size (40-55 ) feet and a torpedo shaped body which helps them to reduce losing body heat in their colder feeding grounds. The other important adaptation that humpback whales have is that when they dive for 5-10 minutes their metabolic and heart rates decrease to allow for the use of less oxygen during hunting. These whales have jaw bones that flex and allow them to take in the most amount of food that they can eat at one time. The humpback whales have specific behaviors like fin slapping, spy hopping, peduncal throws and lob tailing which are all part of the whales interesting behaviors. The Humpback whales survival challenges are pollution in the ocean, man's over hunting for their blubber and their oil and being eaten by their natural predator, the Killer whales.