Oct 13, 2009

The Largest Animal Ever

the-blue-whale-largest-animal-ever

 

The largest animal ever still exists today. Balaenoptera musculus more affectionately known as the Blue Whale dwarfs any living creature past or present (dinosaurs included). Below you will find a collection of facts about this magnificent mammal. We will also attempt to put its mind-boggling size and weight into perspective.

 

SIZE MATTERS

 

The largest ever recorded Blue Whale measured 108 feet (33 meters) in length! Typical adult Blue Whales tend to measure approximately 75-100 feet (22-30 meters). To put this staggering length into perspective we’ve compared it to some more recognizable objects:

 

blue-whale-largest-creature-ever

 

worlds-largest-animal

 

A Blue Whale’s heart beats only 5-6 times per minute and is about the size of a Mini Cooper

 

mini-cooper

 

GREAT WEIGHT

 

Blue Whales can weigh up to 181 metric tons (1 metric ton = 1,000 kg) or 399,000 pounds!

 

worlds-largest-creature

 

blue-whale-biggest-animal-ever

 

The Blue Whale’s tongue weighs around 2.7 metric tons (5,952 pounds) about the size of an average Asian Elephant

 

the-asian-elephant

 

Its mouth is large enough to hold up to 90 metric tons (198,400 pounds) of food and water which is equivalent to 420,560 Big Macs

 

mcdonalds-big-mac

 

Despite the size of its mouth, the dimensions of its throat are such that a Blue Whale cannot swallow an object wider than a beach ball

 

beach-ball

 

Its heart weighs 600 kg (1,300 lb) and is the largest known in any animal. Not only is it a similar size to a mini-cooper but also comparable in weight

 

mini-cooper

 

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

 

The Blue Whale is thought to feed almost exclusively on small, shrimp-like creatures called Krill. During the summer feeding season the Blue Whale gorges itself, consuming an astounding 3.6 metric tons (7,900 pounds) or more each day. This means it may eat up to 40 million krill a day. The daily calorie requirement of an adult Blue Whale is in the region of 1.5 million

 

new-york-striploin

 

15,800 8oz New York Strip Loin Steaks = 7,900 pounds

 

snickers-bar

 

5,500 Snickers Chocolate Bars = 1.5 million calories

 

BIG BABIES

- Blue Whale calves enter the world already ranking among the planet’s largest creatures. After about a year inside its mother’s womb, a baby blue whale emerges weighing up to 2.7 metric tons (6,000 pounds) and stretching to 8 meters (25 feet)
– It gorges on nothing but mother’s milk and gains about 200 pounds (91 kilograms) every day for its first year, growing about 3.8 cm (1.5 inches) in length a day

 

 

RANDOM FACTS

- A Blue Whale’s lungs carry about 5,000 litres (1320 gallons) of air, about 1,000 times the lung capacity of an average human
– Blue whales are the loudest animals on Earth! Their call reaches levels up to 188 decibels which is louder than a jet, which reaches only 140 decibels. Human shouting is about 70 decibels
– They are fast, strong swimmers, capable of reaching 30 mph (48.3 km/hr) when alarmed, but they usually cruise along at about 12 mph (19.3 km/hr).
– A 2002 report estimated there were 5,000 to 12,000 Blue Whales worldwide
– They emit a series of pulses, groans, and moans, and it’s thought that, in good conditions, Blue Whales can hear each other up to 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) away
– The longest recorded dive is 36 minutes. They often reach depths below 200 meters (700 feet) when feeding
– Scientists estimate that Blue Whales can live for at least 80 years

 

blue-whale-skeleton
Blue Whale skeleton outside the Long Marine Laboratory of the University of California, Santa Cruz (Bronwen Lea)

 

 

Sources

- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Whale
http://www.acsonline.org/factpack/bluewhl.htm
http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/blue-whale.html
http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/content/kingdom-of-the-blue-whale-3302/blue-whale-facts/#/compare/length

 

 

 

 

 

If you enjoyed this article, the Sifter highly recommends: How Do Humpback Whales Hunt?

 

 

 

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