People Don’t Realize How Massive a Whale Is Until It’s Swimming Next to a Dolphin

by Lauren Boisvert

Whales are massive creatures. Hands down, we all inherently know that. But sometimes you can’t really fathom how large they really are unless something regular sized is next to it. Like, say, a dolphin.

In a recent Instagram post, SnotBot, part of the Ocean Alliance that checks whales’ health by collecting their exhaled breath and snot, showed us just how big whales are.

In the video, a bottlenose dolphin swims in front of a massive blue whale; the dolphin looks like a bath toy in comparison. SnotBot captioned the video, “The largest animal on earth and its tiny cetacean cousin.”

The Antarctic blue whale is the largest animal on the planet, weighing up to 400,000 pounds and growing to be 98 feet in length. That’s as big as the Jesus statue in Rio de Janeiro, for context. That’s also 30 percent of a football field.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, blue whales have a heart the size of a small car, and their calls reach a higher decibel than a jet engine.

This species is considered critically endangered after commercial whaling nearly depleted the population. The International Whaling Commission protected blue whales in the 1960s, but illegal hunting continued until 1972. There were 125,000 blue whales in 1926, and in 2018 it was reported that there were only 3,000.

The British Antarctic Survey has seen some blue whales coming back, though. In 2020, the survey counted 55 in South Georgia, a sub-Antarctic island where they go to feed. The survey scientists described it as “unprecedented.” Hopefully, these massive and majestic creatures make a comeback; it certainly seems like they’re on the up and up.

Humpback Whales Form Megapod

Over the Sept. 13 weekend, a group of whale-watchers was treated to the sight of a lifetime; a group of nearly 150 humpbacks swarmed around their boat in a feeding frenzy megapod. The whales were feasting on a baitball, a huge sphere of fish that forms when the fish want to protect themselves from predators. The whales form their own humongous group to break through the baitball and scatter the fish so they can eat.

“Some will go underneath, some off to the sides,” said Simon Millar, one of the watchers on the boat. “They come up and they turn on their sides and they lunge forward and they capture the fish!”

Scientists say they’re witnessing more and more megapods when once they would’ve been a rare occurrence. This uptick in megapods represents a growth in population but a decrease in food sources for all those whales.