Cool Humpback Whale Facts

  1. Humpback whales are warm blooded mammals who evolved from land mammals 50 million years ago
  2. The scientific name for the humpback whale is Megaptera novaeangliae
  3. Adult humpbacks grow to 16m in length and weigh 40 tones
  4. Female humpbacks are slightly longer and larger than the males
  5. Humpback whales are easily identifiable by their abnormally large pectoral fins, big fanned tail and hump-shaped back with a small black dorsal fin.
  6. Humpbacks have the longest pectoral fins all of all the cetaceans – up to 5m in length
  7. The pectoral fins contain 5 large finger bones
  8. Humpback whales have numerous knobby structures, or “tubercles,” on the snout and chin. Each tubercle contains a sensory hair.
  9. Humpback whales are baleen whales who filter feed plankton and have no teeth
  10. Humpback whales migrate 10,000 km (5,000 each way) per year from Antarctica to the tropical warm waters of Queensland during May to November
  11. Humpback whales fast during their migration, living off of fat stores they’ve acquired during their feeding season in Antarctica, feeding on 2 tone of plankton per day
  12. Humpback whales can live from 50 years up to 100 years of age
  13. Adult humpbacks have lungs the size of a small car
  14. Adult humpbacks can hold their breath for up to 40 minutes
  15. The humpback whales blow reaches 3 to 5 meters above the ocean surface
  16. Humpback whales cruise at a speed of 3 to 5 knots, although when chased they can reach speeds of 9 to 10 knots
  17. Humpback whales are very active and regularly perform a variety of behaviours like the pectoral slapping, spy hopping, tail slapping and breaching
  18. Humpback whales have eyes the size of grapefruits on either side of their head
  19. Humpback whales have excellent eye sight and can see well above and below the water
  20. Humpback whales mate and calve in the tropical Queensland waters during the winter months
  21. Gestation time is 11 months
  22. Calves are 4m long at birth and weigh 1 tone
  23. New born calves can hold their breath for 5 minutes
  24. Calves drink up to 600lt of milk per day
  25. Calves stay with their mothers for 1 year
  26. During mating season only the male humpback whales produce whale songs that only last a few minutes, but can be repeated for up to 1 hour
  27. The humpback whales that migrate up the East coast of Australia have different whale songs from the humpbacks that migrate up the West coast of Australia
  28. The sounds of the whale songs can travel for hundreds of km, reaching up to 170 decibels, like standing behind a jet aeroplane at take off
  29. It is estimated that as much as 90% of the humpback whale population was eliminated during the whaling era.
  30. Thanks to the conservation efforts within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, and a greater understanding of these amazing creatures, the humpback whale population has bounced back significantly in recent years