Humpback whales are gentle giants of the sea that migrate from Antarctica to the northern east coast of Australia annually to give birth to their offspring. This gives nature and animal lovers an amazing opportunity to witness these majestic giants up close on a whale watching tour. But before you set off on an ocean adventure, here are some fun facts about humpback whales!
Their name is quite deliberate - humpbacks are the most active whale and they are famous for their various acrobatic moves. They are identified by large flippers, a big tail, and specifically their hump-shaped back, which they arch just before they perform a dive. Being able to watch them breaching or jumping high out of the water is a spectacular sight, as well as the splash that happens when they slap their tails with full force into the ocean.
While humans struggle to hold their own breath for longer than a minute or two, humpback whales can hold their breath for over half an hour. When they do need to take a breath, they come to the surface of the water to breathe. These whales have two blowholes, and you can often see a large spurt of water fly into the air from their blowhole as they prepare to take a breath - sometimes this creates a rainbow! They also breathe voluntarily and because they must remember how to breathe, they shut off only half of their brain at a time when sleeping.
Did you know that male humpback whales talk to each other by singing? It might not be quite the same as listening to Baby Shark, but they are the loudest whales and they make an array of sounds all the way from high-pitched squeals to low, rumbling gurgles. Their songs can be repeated many times and the males will sing their famous whale song to attract a female mate during breeding season.
If you read about baby humpback whales, you would know that when females give birth to their young, they will always swim very close to their babies and are very affectionate and protective mothers. These loving and playful creatures can often be seen touching each other with their flippers in a way to share genuine acts of affection with each other. Their own special whale hug.
Whilst most people are aware that humpback whales migrate annually from Antarctia to the warmer waters of northern Australia, what you might not know is that a humpback whale will ALWAYS migrate on the same route as it's mother! So if you ever hear stories that Migaloo (the albino humpback whale) has been spotted in the waters off New Zealand, you can call it the hoax that it is. Migaloo follows the migration path right past our Moreton Bay Region shores.
It’s kind of ironic that instead of having teeth, humpback whales instead have baleen plates, which have bristles attached to them, just like what’s on your toothbrush to help keep your teeth clean. These whales don’t need teeth, though. The baleen plates act like a giant sieve which helps to separate their food from the water. Their main diet consists of krill, which are easily captured with how the humpback whales mouth works.