Whales are some of the most gentle and enormous creatures on the planet, and they are among a unique group of creatures who have the ability to jump out of the water. This behavior is called breaching. So if you ever come across a pod of whales out in the open water, then you get the chance to see it personally breaching, then chances are, you would ask yourself, why do whales breach?
So, why do whales breach? It is a question nobody is ever willing to take. Like most scientists, they are still studying what goes through the breaching process and why whales do it. But, if you're one of the few whose curious mind is taking over, then lucky for you, we've got you covered! Today, we take a deeper dive as to why whales breach.
What is Whales Breaching?
Before we start, it is important for you to learn what breaching is first. So, what is breaching? Breaching occurs when a whale's body is fully in the air and out of the water. The process is similar to jumping in humans, wherein whales need a burst in speed to be able to leap outside of the water along with their extremely hefty and massive bodies.
However, the whale's body isn't sometimes fully out of the water, and it is mostly about 90% of the whale's body that is out of the water. Therefore, after breaching, the whale will most likely land on its back rather than its front, creating a splashing scene when colliding with the open water. It's like launching themselves out in the water and into the open air!
Understanding Why Do Whales Breach?
If you were to ask a scientist why whales breach, chances are, they would go through a set of different answers correlating scenarios to the whale's behavior. While there may not be factual answers to this question, here are some scientists suggesting why whales breach into the water.
Do Whales Breach Because They Need Air?
While it may sound true that whales might breach because they need air, the answer is, No. Whales are mammals. While this holds for some scientists, it is not one of the reasons why do whales breach. Still, there's a case to be made because whales need to get out of the water to breathe air. So, maybe, they're breaching because they want to breathe air stunningly? Nope.
Whales Breach Because There Are Nearby Predators
Some suggest whale breach because predators, especially the orcas and great whites, are nearby. In some instances, whales may breach to alert nearby pods for nearby predators and other possible threats. In addition, whales are known for spy-hopping, a technique in which a whale elevates itself from the water to take a good look at the area.
However, spy-hopping isn't as eye-catching as breaching, but some would suggest it is a perfect combination to ward off potential predators and survey the area for potential threats.
Do Whales Breach Just For Fun?
No! While you may have a fantastic point, whales aren't known to breach because they see it as fun and entertaining. When whales breach, it would be safe to assume they are having fun. It is like their way of communicating with people who are excited about their presence. While this can leave a lasting impression on mankind, sadly, it is not one of the reasons why whale breach.
Whales Breach To Let Other Pods Know There Is Food
Whales are highly social creatures. Some of them would prefer to be alone, while some thrive in large groups called pods. In some highly social pods, it is suggested that whales breach the water to let others know there's food.
If this holds, it is one of the more efficient ways to find food and alert other whales to give them a better chance at capturing. In some instances, it is thought the breaching could easily stun small fishes, leaving them dazed and will be consumed easily.
Do Whales Breach For Communication?
Yes! As we've mentioned a while back, most scientists believe that whale breaching is their way of communicating with their other members. The splashing sound breaching makes signals to other whales. In case you don't know, sound travels much faster underwater than on land, which could be why whales breach.
Do Whales Breach To Teach Their Young?
That's a firm, No! While it isn't one of the reasons why whales breach, did you know that mother whales are extremely capable? During the early stages of its young one, will the mother provide everything until it can go on its own? Yes, that's true.
The mother will provide food, shelter, survival, and many more just to let her young one live on its own. That's why their 'attachment parenting' has made people love them even more, and they only leave their young calves' side after a year or two, or as long as they are capable of living on their own.
Wrapping Things Up
Whales are extraordinary creatures, and they are what makes this place a better place. From how graceful they swim to how enormous they are, there is something about the marine world that is always fascinating. While there may not be a lot of scientific studies pointing out why whales breach, there are plenty of reasons to believe that breaching has a purpose, and we've listed some scenarios wherein breaching might be the sole reason.
Despite their humongous size, whales are still susceptible to various factors leading to their decline over the years. Fortunately, various organizations have paved the way for our whales to see the light at the end of the tunnel for generations to come as their population is slowly on the horizon. So let's not waste their concerted efforts in keeping our marine life as stable as it can be and be the change you want to be if you want your children's children to witness how majestic these creatures are.
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