Whales are enormous, intelligent mammals that live in the ocean. Unlike fish that breathe through gills, they breathe into their lungs through blowhole(s). Their bodies are smooth and streamlined to make movement in water easily. Apart from sea cows (manatees), whales are the only other set of mammals that live under water their entire lives and have fully adapted to the deep ocean life. Want to know different types of whales? Whales can be basically classified into two categories, toothed and baleen. As the name suggests, toothed whales have teeth, and the baleen don’t have teeth. However, there are many other differences between them.

Types of Baleen Whales

In the two types of whales, the baleen whales will normally be much bigger than the toothed whales. While the toothed whales have one blow hole, the baleen whales have 2. Compared to the tooth whales, they are not fast swimmers. The baleen whales lack dorsal fins and the few that have very small ones. As for the Toothed Whales, each one of them possesses not less than one dorsal fin. Below is a list of 5 of the common baleen whales

​Blue Whale

So far, blue whales are considered to be the largest animals existing on the surface of the earth. Their lengths go up to 100 feet and weigh between 100-150 tons. Without a doubt, this makes the blue whale the largest mammal in the world. In spite of their large size, blue whales have dorsal fins that are relatively small located three-quarters down their backs. The skin of the whale is unique with mottled grayish-blue coloration. This coloration comes in handy during photo-identification research. It helps separate individual blue whales and helps scientists study more about them in general. For more information watch the video below:


Bowhead Whale

Scientifically known as Balaenamysticetus, the bowhead whale is named after its jaws, which are high and arched, resembling a bow. Bowhead whales are cold-water whales that live in the Artic. They are black in color. As an adaptation to the cold waters that the whales live in, they have a blubber layer that is more than 1½ feet thick. This layer keeps the whales warm and insulated from the cold waters. Due to over-exploitation and whaling, the bowhead whales have drastically decreased in population size over the years. Regardless of this knowledge, they are still listed as least concern. In terms of weight, these whales are among the largest of whale species in today’s existence. For more information watch this video:


Fin Whale

The second largest animal in the world is the fin whale. These whales owe their nickname, razorback, to the plates and grooves that cover their bodies. Their lengths go up to 65 feet and weigh about 73 tons. The conspicuous features of the fin whales are their flippers and dorsal fins. Their tails are wide and have a notch in the middle. Unique to other whale characteristics, the fin whale is very symmetrical. For more information watch this video:


Gray Whale

Most people notice the gray whale when they look into the ocean. Their characteristics make them familiar in several ways. They weigh about 36 tons and can grow to more than 50 feet in length. They have whiskers around their mouths that help them know what is happening in their surroundings. You are likely to spot the gray whales living in small clusters, but at times you will get them in larger groups. However, they do not spend their life time in one group. Often, you will see them diving out of the ocean at incredible speeds. Researchers believe they do this to get rid of any parasites on them. For more information watch the video below:


Right Whale

You cannot fail to recognize the sheer size of these whales. They grow up to 60 feet in length and can weigh up to 100 tons. One of the ways you can distinguish a right whale from others is by the calluses on their heads. They also have a unique blowhole that is V-shaped. As for their color, they can either be black or dark gray. So far, 4 different groups of right whales have been identified. About 400 right whales are alleged to live in the north Atlantic. Around 25 of them live in the North Pacific and roughly 15,000 in the southern regions. For more information watch this video:

Types of Toothed Whales

In the two types of whales, toothed whales are characterized by the aggression they have towards each other, more so the male species during the mating season. Their strong teeth are what they use to fight with each other to get the right to mate the females. Toothed whales are also quite dangerous as they hit boats. However, researchers say they do this not out of aggression but out of curiosity. Famous types of toothed whales include:

Beluga Whale

You can easily see a beluga whale because of its unique look. The whales lack dorsal fins, and their skin is pure white. They are also quite small in size. They have a broad, round like head and a huge forehead. They have 5-inch thick blubber that is an adaptation to their arctic and sub-arctic habitats. They also have a tough dorsal fin that makes it possible for them to navigate through the icy sea waters. Beluga whales get their food on the seabed, which is 1000 feet deep, and the water column. The beluga whales population stands at hundreds of thousands. For more information watch this video:


Narwhal Whale

In terms of size, Narwhal whales are mid-range in respect to other whale sizes. The males have a distinct feature - a long straight tusk along the jaw. Most people are puzzled at what its function is and others assume that it is for fighting. However, whales have no enemies except for human beings. According to researchers, this tusk is supposed to trigger sexual attraction. In old Norse, narwhal means “corpse whale”. This might have come from the color of their skin that is bluish-gray with white spots. The young ones are brown in color. For more information watch this video:


Pilot Whale

Pilot whales have two species that are quite difficult to distinguish at sea. The long-finned pilot whale (G. melas) and the short-finned pilot whale (G. macrorhynchus) are best differentiated by analyzing their skulls. Pilot whales as a whole occupy a wide range of waters worldwide. The long-finned pilot whales are found in cold waters while the short-finned pilot whales are found in the tropical and subtropical waters. Pilot whales are hardly seen compared to other whale species. This is due to their tendency of staying in deep waters. Human beings praise of their high levels of intelligence. For more information watch this video:


Sperm Whale

Of all the toothed whales, sperm whales are the largest. Most people think of Moby Dick story when they see one. Its body color is grayish. They have a large head that house rows of sharp teeth. A mature sperm whale is 67 feet long and weighs 56 tons. Their brains are the largest in the animal kingdom, weighing 20 pounds and have one blow hole. They produce spermaceti oil from their heads and thus their name. Sperm whales are found in most oceans. For more information watch this video:


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