What do whales eat?

Katya malina
Katya malina
May 13, 2015
What do whales eat?

The largest mammals - cetaceans - spend their entire lives in the water. However, their ancestors lived on land, so the whales are called "secondary water" animals, unlike fish and amphibians, which are "primary water". This explains the fact that whales can not be under water for a long time, because they breathe air.

The diet of these animals is quite diverse and depends on the habitat of the whale, its size and type. Thus, cetaceans can feed on both microorganisms and large mammals. Let's take a closer look at what whales eat.

Whale feeding

So, all the whales are divided into two types: baleen whales and toothed. The diet of one type of whale is significantly different from the diet of another.

First of all it should be said that toothed whales are predators: they have teeth with which they are able to "grind" the flesh. Toothed whales include, for example, sperm whales, dolphins, beak and porpoises. They mainly eat cephalopod mollusks (squids, octopuses), as well as shrimps, crabs, fish (even other whales and sharks), seals, walrus, sea lions.When food is scarce, algae can be absorbed. When hunting, they use echolocation.

Baleen whales (gray whale, blue whale, whale, dwarf, etc.) pass food through the whalebone, horny plates, like a comb, in the upper jaw. Their diet is plankton (small crustacean-forming organisms — krill), which they filter out of the water or the bottom with the help of a mustache. Sometimes they can eat small fish or crustaceans.

Interestingly, whales practically do not eat in winter, so in the summer they continuously absorb food to accumulate a layer of fat (not only as a nutrient reserve, but also to protect it from low water temperature). On the day a whale eats up to three tons of food.

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