Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

Blue Whale

Balaenoptera musculus


Fun Facts

    The blue whale is the largest living animal.

    Blue whale calves drink 100150 gallons of milk a day.



  Blue whales are the largest of all whales, as well as the largest living animal that has ever lived on earth. In the Northern Hemisphere, the largest blue whale reported is 85 feet, and in the Southern Hemisphere individuals may reach almost 110 feet in length. They are found worldwide, but in the north Pacific they migrate from northern summer feeding grounds in Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea to their winter calving grounds by Baja California and the Sea of Cortez. Recently blue whales have been observed feeding on krill during the summer in the Santa Barbara Channel.

Blue whales feed almost exclusively on krill and can eat over 4 tons a day. They feed by taking in tons of water, and filtering out the food with its baleen. The blue whale has 260 to 400 baleen plates about three feet long on each side of the upper jaw. The throat has 55 to 94 grooves. When relaxed, the blue whale takes a breath every 15 seconds for 5 to 20 minutes before its long dive of 5 to 20 minutes.

To learn more about blue whales and their relatives visit the Whales & Dolphins Room at the Aquarium.