Minke Whales: Everything you should know about them…

The Minke Whales are known as the smallest type of baleen whales. They belong  to the Balaenopteridae family.

This species of whale is the one that most abounds  within the baleen whales, although its life expectancy is about 20 years. It’ s estimated that there are currently around 800,000 minke whales.

Anatomy

As for their size, it’ s known that they can reach about 8 meters in length, weighing about 8 tons in the most common cases.  However, there are specimens of even 10 tons in weight.

These minke whales, in relation to their anatomy, are also characterized  by having two nostrils, of  black and white colors .

On the other hand, this species of whales have two pectoral fins, that are usually large in size and long, compared to their dorsal fin which is usually shorter.

A curious fact, is that the females Minke Whales are a little bigger than the males, since they usually measure half a meter more than them.

Yet, minkes whales are small  compared to most whales in the world.  The dorsal portion of the Minke Whales is dark gray, and its belly is usually white.

The Minke Whales are recognized among the other species,  by having a pointed head, which  is also narrow and in triangular shape, ending  with a peculiar crest. They also have between 231 to 360 beards in their jaws, ranging from white, yellow and even gray tones; which can measure up to 27 centimeters each.

Minke Whales Alimentation Habits

The  minke whales’ diet is based on small fish, which include krill, cod and herring. Moreover, thanks to the beards they possess, these whales are able to strain what they hunt;  to filter their food in a better way. They have 70 openings in their throat, which also help them for feeding purposes.

It’ i also  important to mention that Minke whales tend to be faster than normal, when they  are hunting their prey.  When this happens, they swim at a speed of 21 miles per hour, when they usually do it at 6 miles per hour.

In spite that minke whales usually swim in small groups of two or three individuals, this trend changes a little bit when they are in the areas where they feed.   In general, their feeding has similarities to what other species consume, such as the blue whales

Distribution

Minke Whales , are very easy to locate, since they are distributed in all seas and oceans of the world. It should be noted, that this species remains distant from the polar areas,  although there are cases where they have been found in icy habitats. Unlike other species of whales, these whales, don´t tend to migrate  towards tropical areas.

Although several studies have demonstrated, that these whales usually stay in the same place for up to a year; there are also references that they usually prefer not  too warm waters.Minke whales: Minke whale painting by Juan Bosco

They can often be seen in coastal areas. In relation to the above, the minke whales in summer time;  swim closer to the poles and when the winter comes, the most common is that they swim to warmer waters.

The minke whales are mostly located in countries such  as Australia, also in New Zealand, even in some parts of South Africa,  and in some months of the year they  can be seen off the coasts of South America.

How Do Minke Whales Reproduce? 

These whales reach  the sexual maturity very early, compared with other species of whales. They can start their reproductive cycles, since they are two years of age.

The gestation  period last 10 months , and the lactation of the offspring  around 6 months. According to several investigations, the pregnant female whale increases her energies in the second half of the gestation period, since she has greater biological needs to dispose her   body to the birth of another animal so big.

They even feed up twice more , than they would usually do. . As far as the offspring,  they can reach nine feet in length and 1000 pounds in weight, when they are born.

 

Finally we leave this video for you, tabout this wonderful creature….

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