What do Whales Eat?
May 19, †Ј While baleen whales feed on small prey, toothed whales, such as orcas, hunt for much larger creatures like seals, sea lions and other whales. They use their teeth for grasping and tearing, often swallowing their food whole, and find their prey using echolocation. Feb 03, †Ј Baleen whales feed on plankton, krill, and microscopic crustaceans. Whales are divided into two suborders Ч toothed and baleen whales Ч and each eats very different kinds of food. Toothed whales eat fish, squid, and other animals, while baleens eat plankton, krill, and other small creatures.
Caring for Stranded Marine Animals. Posted by bethsobi on Apr 19, in FAQ's 16 comments. Now think about how whales eat fish and squid. But what about catching and eating the tiny creatures? Teeth are not much help. And yet, these huge creatures thrive on this diet. They have figured out a different way to eat.
Instead, they have baleen plates hanging from their upper jaw. Baleen is made of a substance similar to et fingernails with a row of fringe along one side. Baleen whales swim through the water with their mouth open, taking in large volumes of water that contain the tiny ocean creatures. The fringed baleen then acts as a sieve Ч the whales squeeze the water out through the baleen, leaving their food caught on the baleen.
Then they use their tongue to wipe the baleen clean before swallowing their food. In the northeast U. Common baleen whales are humpbacks, minkes, and right whales. There are 15 species of baleen whales currently recognized. Hi Rosa. Whales use their tongue to push the water out of their mouth through the baleen. Any food in the water, such as small fish and zooplankton, is caught by the baleen. Once the water is gone, the whale can swallow the food. Thanks for your question!
I am curious about the whole feeding cycle for whales with baleen. Step one. Is the cycle completed while deep in the ocean; does does it repeat on a single breath? Hi Joseph. Baleen whales detect large patches of zooplankton through sound, scent, vision, water vibrations. In what does baleen whales eat, whales do not eat sea turtles. I suppose it is a possibility when turtles are young and small that a dolphin, orca, or other toothed whale might try to eat a turtle if it happens upon it.
Turtles are not, however, the usual prey of whales. Thanks for your question. Your email address will not be published. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.
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May 27, †Ј While toothed whales are predators that hunt for squid, seals, sea lions and, sometimes, other whales, baleen whales engage in filter feeding, which is a method of consuming many small pieces of prey at once. These whales might eat krill, which are Author: Molly Edmonds. May 29, †Ј Whales are one of the most AMAZING animals on the planet! Our education team at Davey's Locker and Newport Landing Whale Watching in Newport Beach want to pr. Apr 19, †Ј If you said fish and squid, youТd be right. But thereТs a second correct answer Ц some whales eat ocean creatures called plankton that are so small they are hard for us to see. Now think about how whales eat fish and squid. ThatТs easy Ц pretty much the way you eat your dinner, by using your teeth. But what about catching and eating the tiny creatures?
When it comes to survival, few things are as important as shelter, rest, and food. For whales to capture their food, these marine mammals search and hunt for their prey using various techniques to locate, isolate, and immobilize their prey for easy consumption.
Because there are around 90 different animals within the cetacean family, it is important to understand that not all whales hunt or attack their prey in the same way. One of the most useful abilities whales use when hunting for food is known as echolocation. Echolocation is a trait that is found in all species of toothed whales.
Echolocation works by emitting a series of clicking and busing noises and then listening to the echoes that bounce off objects in the area such as fish or other aquatic life forms. The amount of time it takes the echo to return to the whale can provide these marine mammals with vital information such as how far the object is, how dense it is, whether it is hard or soft, and whether or not the object is moving or still. Using echolocation, whales can determine whether the object is prey, a predator, or an inanimate object.
These amazing marine mammals will continue to create these sounds until they find the prey they are looking for and then decide the best method for hunting and attacking their prey. In addition to helping toothed whales find food, echolocation is also useful for navigating the ocean in dark environments as the echoes create a map of the environment, which help whale determine where various objects are so they can avoid collision with them.
Since echolocation relies heavily on sound, these marine mammals do not have to use their eyes when they are traveling or to search for prey, so it is a perfect skill to use when diving in waters that are void of any light. In fact, echolocation can be thought of as a highly advanced version of sonar that displays where a single object is in relation to the host and provides highly detailed information about all of the objects in the area in a somewhat three dimensional way.
Baleen whales hunt for food using a variety of techniques. One common technique these marine mammals use is known as filter feeding, in which these large animals swim around with their mouths open and filter food through their baleen bristles which often resemble the teeth found on a comb. The baleen bristles act like filters by allowing water to escape while being packed tightly to prevent their prey from getting out.
Depending on the species, baleen whales may use several other hunting methods to capture their prey. One of these methods may include simply swimming towards their prey with their mouth open while capturing their prey in the baleen bristles then pushing the water out of their mouth with their tongue before swallowing their prey whole. Aside from swimming through schools of fish or krill, some whales may skim the surface of the water while keeping their mouth open to capture prey at or near the top of the water.
Another method used by baleen whales is to have several whales circle around a group or swarm of fish and blow bubbles around and underneath the fish to herd them into a ball and push them towards the surface.
Once this is done, the whales can take turns swimming through the helpless swarm and pick off the fish one at a time. While baleen whales are known for their often solitary behavior when searching for prey, baleen whales may choose to hunt for food alone or as a group. Group hunting is often dependent on their species and the pod they belong to.
To obtain food, these whales will swim to the bottom of the ocean and roll on their side, causing the water to lift various sea sediments and prey. These whales will eat everything that comes up from crabs and larvae to plankton and small fish. Gray whales are enormous and can consume more than 3, pounds of food daily. Some observers state that the gray whale can eat more than 4, pounds of food daily.
Humpback whales use a hunting technique unique to any other mammal in their species using a method known as bubble netting or lunge netting. Bubble or lunge netting takes a group effort, and each whale plays a specific role in capturing the fish. Some whales will swim around the fish these whales tend to enjoy eating herring and blow bubbles, which causes the fish to form into a group, while other whales make loud noises scaring the fish and causing them to move towards the surface of the water.
Once the fish move to the surface, they lunge towards the fish with their mouths open and try to eat as many fish as they possibly can. Toothed whales are referred to as active hunters because they possess teeth. In fact, some toothed whales are known to hunt and eat larger forms of prey than their baleen whale relatives. Most toothed whales will consume a diet consisting of fish, squid, octopus , and various crustaceans. However, the killer whale actually a dolphin is known to hunt and consume various marine mammals, seabirds, and even whales.
While the baleen whale suborder is comprised solely of large baleen whales, the toothed whale suborder is made up of whales that possess teeth along with all species of dolphin and porpoise. In addition to possessing teeth, toothed whales are also equipped with echolocation, which helps them identify prey in dark waters where light is limited or nonexistent.
When it comes to hunting methods, the strategies these marine mammals use vary depending on the species.
The orca killer whale is known for hunting in groups. Killer whales eat a large variety of foods such as fish, squid, sea lions, walruses, seals, sharks, and even large whales. Moreover, they are considered to be at the top of the aquatic food chain since they have no real predators. They are also extremely social and travel in groups known as pods. Orca is known for maintaining strong family ties and can spend their entire lives together, rarely separating from one another except when they mate and forage for food.
The sperm whale the largest of the toothed whales typically prefers a diet containing octopus, large squid, and some fish. These whales can dive over 3, feet underwater and remain submerged for over an hour when hunting for prey. It is estimated that sperm whales eat more than billion pounds of squid per year. Compared to the orca which are very socially structured , sperm whales live solitary lives, often leaving pods to travel alone or move to other small pods. As with baleen whales, the toothed whale species may hunt for food alone or in groups; however, toothed whales are more likely to hunt in groups because of their social bonds and, in some cases, smaller sizes.
Dolphins are often a good example of toothed whales that hunt together. Numerous dolphin species may be found hunting for food in layers as they swim through the water picking off potential prey. By swimming in layers, they can prevent some of their prey from swimming up or down to avoid being attacked.
Dolphins and other toothed whales may also use echolocation to coordinate attacks and hunting strategies. Using echolocation, they identify their prey and see where other pod members are in the water to adjust their attacks and maximize their success rates.
Here is a list containing some of the most common founds consumed by baleen whales and toothed whales. Baleen whales tend to eat small manageable prey since they swallow their food whole and consume large quantities of small prey:.
Toothed whales also consume small prey; however, some species have a larger, more diverse diet and can consume larger food sources:. Depending on the species, the type of foods a whale consumes can vary from small krill to giant squid.
Location, climate, marine life, social structure, and the whale species all play a role in what types of foods these marine mammals consume. Some species are equipped with echolocation, which allows them to measure the distance, location, density, and types of food they are hunting and being used to help them navigate the ocean. Some whales hunt in large cooperative groups to isolate and trap their prey, while others are solitary animals that hunt their prey alone or in small pods.
Whales that belong to the baleen whale suborder tend to hunt for food by filtering their prey from the water, while toothed whales either chew their food to break it apart or swallow their prey whole. Baleen whale diet Baleen whales tend to eat small manageable prey since they swallow their food whole and consume large quantities of small prey: Fish Krill Squid Octopus Larve Small crabs Various crustaceans Various benthic animals.
Toothed whale diet Toothed whales also consume small prey; however, some species have a larger, more diverse diet and can consume larger food sources: Fish Squid sperm whales hunt giant squid Octopus Crabs Marine mammals such as whales, dolphins, and porpoises eaten by certain groups of killer whales Other marine animals, including seals, sea lions, walruses, seabirds, and sharks eaten by certain groups of killer whales.
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