Which whales are you hoping we’ll find?
There are more than 30 species of whales, large and small, that can be found in Canadian waters. Of these, the 10 largest are the “great whales. ” As whales spend most of their time underwater, they use sound to communicate, navigate and some use it to find food. Some species, like the Blue Whale, make very simple, low frequency sounds that they use to communicate with each other over great distances, sometimes hundreds of kilometres.
Other species have a varied sound repertoire. The Humpback Whale, for instance, sings songs that change every year. Find out more about each of these species and listen to their beautiful sounds here.
GREY WHALE Eschrichtius robustus
Length: Up to 15 m
Weight: Up to 40 tonnes
Range: Tropical (winter), temperate and sub-polar (summer) waters worldwide
Diet: Benthic Zooplankton
Cool Fact: The western Pacific population is critically endangered, while the eastern Pacific population thrives at over 20000 individuals. They are the only great whale to feed on tiny crustacean zooplankton that live on and in the mud on the seafloor, which they eat by turning on their side and gulping sediment.
COMMON MINKE WHALE Balaenoptera acutorostrata
Length: Up to 10 m
Weight: Up to 10 tonnes
Range: Throughout the Northern Hemisphere, tropical and subtropical waters (winter), northern sub-arctic waters (summer)
Diet: Krill, zooplankton and small schooling fish
Cool Fact: It feeds by lunging into schools of prey while gulping large amounts of water
SPERM WHALE Physeter macrocephalus
Length: Up to 16m
Weight: Up to 45 t
Range: Offshore waters worldwide, temperate and subpolar waters (summer) and tropical waters (winter)
Diet: Large squid, sharks, skates and fish
Cool Fact: Females create lasting ties to one another. On average, 12 females and their young will create a family unit.
»» It is the only great whale that has teeth.
BLUE WHALE Balaenoptera musculus
Length: Up to 33 m
Weight: Up to 200 tonnes
Range: Offshore waters worldwide, temperate waters (summer) and tropical waters (winter)
Diet: Krill, zooplankton and fish
Cool Fact: It is the largest animal ever known to have lived on Earth! It can consume as much as 4 tonnes of krill in a day. It can emit sounds that are louder than a jet aircraft