This Wildlife Wednesday, learn about the lesser known, second-largest animal in the world – the fin whale.
Many people know that the answer to “What’s the world’s largest animal?” is a blue whale. However, this Wildlife Wednesday, learn about the second-largest animal in the world—the fin whale. These slim, streamlined whales are lesser known but equally amazing.
Habitat: all of the world’s oceans
Fin whale trivia
- Like many other types of whales, fin whales feast on plankton and krill, as well as small fish.
- Fin whales can reach the ripe old age of 80 to 90 years.
- Female fin whales are actually larger than the males. Their maximum length is about 88 feet in females and 82 feet in males.
- Fin whales have a very unusual colouring pattern on their jaws: the lower right jaw is white, while the lower left jaw is black. Scientists don’t know for sure why this is, but they hypothesize that it may help them with hunting.
- Because the fin whale is slim and streamlined, though powerful, it can reach speeds of 23 miles (37 km) per hour, and leap so its entire body is out of the water at one time.
- The fin whales’ only non-human predator is the killer whale.
Why they’re threatened and what you can do to help
Currently, fin whales are classified as endangered, and only 50,000 to 90,000 exist.
Historically, whaling has been a massive threat to fin whales. According to the World Wildlife Fund, a staggering 750,000 fin whales were hunted and killed between 1904 and 1979—and that’s only in the southern hemisphere. However, there are numerous current threats that add to the fin whale’s troubles, including collisions with boats, entanglement in marine debris such as fishing gear, overfishing (which reduces the amount of prey), destruction of habitat, and noise disruption from human activity, such as boats.
Individuals can help fin whales by learning more about these threats and taking action. For more information, check out these alive articles about marine debris and overfishing.