How is the bowhead whale special?

The bowhead whale, just as the name suggests, has a bow-shaped head. Just like the Greenland shark, the bowhead whale also lives in the icy-cold waters within the Arctic Circle. Maybe there is a connection between swimming around in the freezing Arctic waters and living very long because both the Greenland shark and the bowhead whale live well beyond 200 years!

The bowhead whale is the fifth largest mammal on earth, growing up to 60 feet and weighing up to 100 tons! The bowhead whale’s head is one-third of its total length. It has baleen plates in its mouth instead of teeth. It eats by swimming with its mouth open and taking in huge amounts of water along with plankton and tiny crustaceans like krill. It then pushes the water out through the baleen plates which act like filters, retaining only the minute plant and animal life. It eats up to 2 tonnes of food in this fashion every day.

Apart from eating, it also uses its enormous head to break through thick layers of sea ice to create breathing holes. Despite its mighty size, this fun-loving whale loves to jump out of the water (a phenomenon called breaching), splash around and sing! It has a repertoire of more than 60 songs and vocalizations. You might say that it likes to have a ‘whale’ of a time!

It is threatened by habitat loss, water pollution and climate change and is listed under ‘Least Concern’ on the IUCN Red List.

Picture Credit : Google

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