Minke whales, unlike other whales, aren’t a type of whale you probably have heard of. The blue whales, humpback whales, dolphins, orcas, and Minke whales are the least popular when it comes to their distant relatives. Despite their irrelevance among humans, they still belong to these majestic types of creatures that are roaming around Earth’s waters.
When it comes to popularity, Minke whales are on the opposite side of the spectrum. Still, they are whales that almost humans should know about. If you are one of the few people out there who wants to learn more about these majestic creatures and how they came to be, here are some awesome Minke whales facts and everything you need to know about them!
Minke Whales Facts You Never Know About
Before we start indulging ourselves in Minke whales facts, let’s first discuss whales are to get a better understanding of these gentle yet enormous creatures of our ocean.
What Are Minke Whales?
Minke whales are baleen whales, which means they belong to the same family of whales as blue whales, grey whales, humpbacks, and bowheads. Of all the rorquals roaming worldwide, Minke whales are the smallest type, but they are also the most abundant in terms of population. In addition, their population has been stable throughout the years, and humans are still their greatest threat.
These whales got their name from a Norwegian man named Meincke, who mistook the sighting of a Minke for a blue whale. Like other rorqual species, Minke whales are known to be friendly, harmless, and gentle towards humans. They are graceful creatures roaming around Earth’s waters for centuries.
Amazing Facts About Minke Whales
There are a lot of fascinating facts about Minke whales, and we’ll list down some of the things you might not know about these gentle creatures.
They Are Not The Smallest
Baleen whales are relatively big. However, that’s not the case when we talk about Minke whales. When compared to its other distant relatives, they pale in comparison to sheer size. However, they are also not the smallest in their family. They only come in second to the Pygmy Right Whale – another cousin of theirs known to be the smallest specie of the baleen whales.
When Minke whales reach adulthood, they have an average body size measuring 7 to 10 meters. To put it in perspective, the largest animal in the world is their cousin, the blue whale. These whales can reach up to 25 meters when they reach adulthood. So, they are quite small!
Looks Can Be Deceiving
Despite being one of the smaller baleen whales on the planet, don’t let their appearance fool you. A Minke whale can weigh up to 6 tons when they reach adulthood, quite a pretty hefty weight, right? They look like a two-decker bus but on the heavier side of things.
Like Fingerprints To Humans
Did you know that the white and grey patches on their body are one of their distinct traits that aren’t the same as the others? Like fingerprints to humans, all Minke whales have these specific markings on their body are unique to one another. These characteristics help scientists identify each Minke whale accordingly.
Another interesting fact is that you can determine a Minke’s age by the layer of wax in its ears. If you want to count these waxy layers, they come in handy as this might be a daunting task considering these are 6-ton gentle giants of the ocean.
Queensland Is The Place To Be
If you’re planning to swim along with other Minke whales, the best place to do that is in Queensland. It is the only place where you can swim with these gentle creatures on the planet. In particular, the best part to give you a better chance at tagging along with these whales are in Ribbon Reef. You also get to swim with other marine creatures such as sharks, dolphins, manta rays, and many more!
Minke whales are known creatures whose aggregation spots are quite predictable as wintertime signals them to travel from the southern hemisphere down to the Ribbon Reef. So, if you want to take a closer look at these gentle giants, be sure to mark the map along the ribbon reef.
Wherever You Go, I Go
It is thought that whenever there are seabirds, there are Minkes too! And this is because Minke whales believe that if they follow these seabirds, they get to come closer to their food source. Birds are agile predators coming from above, so if they aggregate in a certain area, most Minkes think it would be simpler to follow these birds rather than rely on themselves in search of food.
Minkes, the same as birds, travel thousands of miles to warmer temperatures come wintertime. In the spring and summer months, Minke whales travel to the south and north poles and travel back to tropical waters during the winter months.
Longer Than You Expect
Minkes live relatively longer than most whale species on the planet, and it is because the only threat to their survival aside from humans is killer whales. A typical Minke whale can reach up to 60 years old and, in some rare instances, even live up to 70 – 80 years old!
Killer whales are their primary predators, and it’s their only REAL predators. However, killer whales hunt Minke whales in packs, and these chases can go for hours. If they’re lucky enough, they can escape with just a few minor scratches and bruises.
When the only predator you have is killer whales, it makes more sense why Minke whales have a very wide population in the world. They have the most numbers compared to other baleen whales on the planet.
Wrapping Things Up
Are you amazed at how these Minke whales pair up with other whales? Although they aren’t as popular as some of their distant relatives, they still have lots of interesting things to learn from them.
Minke whales have a very stable population and are far from being considered endangered or critical, and it would be wise to keep it that way by doing various tasks that aid them in their survival and other species too! Hopefully, these Minke whales facts have helped you understand more about them and why you should be taking care of them.
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