Humpback whales are
found in the oceans worldwide and have been protected to some
degree since 1963 yet remain threatened in coastal areas where
they come into contact with man.
venture to shallow waters to breed but tend to remain in deeper
ocean waters most of the time. Humpback whales are
gray and sometimes black in appearance. Other distinguishing characteristics
include a tapering head with small knobby like protrusions
and a furrowed throat extending all the way to
the belly as the picture below illustrates.
Covering about one third of the humpback's body length,
the pectoral fins have a white pattern on the underside and may apear to
have small but visibly recognizable uneven or jagged looking contour mostly
the edge of the fins. Humpback tail flukes are rather large and have white
breeched whale as the picture above depicts
is a breathtaking site to observe. When the whale pushes or lifts
itself out of
it is referred to as breaching. This behavior is
believed to be for social reasons but also serves to loosen skin
parasites. Many believe breaching to be a form of communication
or perhaps a signal of some kind since the sound can be heard
for many miles.
Humpback whales are unquestionably one of the most vocal whales and their long
complex songs are both beautiful and slightly eerie sounding. The singing by
humpback whales only happens in solitary males in mating season. It is done mostly
to attract female humpbacks and to let other males know they are around. Interestingly
these songs may last up to 35 minutes and may be recognizably different from
one humpback population to another (considered dialects within these separate
raw data size and weight for Humpback Whales:
Length: 36-50 ft.
Weight: 33-44 tons
The population of Humpbacks is only a small fraction of what it was originally.
The International Whaling Commission (IWC) provided humpbacks worldwide protection
status in 1966 and were considered endangered. Since then, the IWC instituted
that all whaling cease and banned in 1985.