A baby blue whale in Costa Rica - Link (Photo: Flip Nicklin)
Quick: what's the largest animal ever to inhabit the earth. The dinosaurs? Nope - it's actually the blue whale. If you know this, either you've been paying attention at elementary school or you're an avid naturalist.
The blue whale is big. Phenomenally big: it's almost the size of a space shuttle orbiter, or if you don't know how big that is, just go to your local basketball court. The blue whale is longer than it. They're also mysterious: despite their size, blue whales are so rare that even experts know little about them.
Image: National Geographic Channel's Kingdom of Blue Whale - Link
Our friends at the National Geographic Channel sent us an advanced copy of their newest film: Kingdom of the Blue Whale (it's good to be a blogger, but you don't have to wait long to watch it free on the NatGeo Channel. It's going to be on March 8th, 2009 at 8PM).
They've also included these neat fast facts about blue whales:
- Blue whales can grow up to 100 feet (~30 m). Lengthwise that's the equivalent of two city buses and longer than an NBA basketball court.
- They can weigh up to 200 tons. That's about 8 DC-9 aircrafts or 15 school buses.
- In fact, their tongue alone weigh as much as an elephant. About 100 people can fit in a blue whale's mouth.
- A blue whale heart is the size of a Mini Cooper and can weigh close to 2,000 pounds (~907 kg). Its heartbeat can be detected from two miles away and a human can easily crawl through its major arteries.
- Blue whales can produce sounds louder than a jet engine (188 dB vs. jet engine's 140 dB) and can communicate with other whales up to 1,000 miles away.
- A single adult eats about 4 tons of krill (tiny shrimplike animals) a day.
- The spray from a blue whale's blowhole is almost as tall as a three-story building (30 feet or 9 m). A toddler can fit into its blowhole.
Note: I'm not being paid or compensated in any way (other than getting the preview copy) for this post. I just thought that blue whales are pretty darn neat! Thanks Minjae!