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The blue whale

Blue whale Fact file

Name: Blue whale
Status: Endangered

Habitat: In all oceans of the world. They mate and calve in tropical-to-temperate waters during winter months, and feed in polar waters during summer months.

Description: The blue whale is the largest animal ever to have existed on Earth, even bigger than the dinosaurs! It can grow to over thirty metres in length - the size of three double-decker buses end to end. Like all whales, it is a mammal and not a fish.

Why are they endangered?
In the first half of the twentieth century many whales were commercially fished because a wide range of products such as soap and oil could be made from whale body parts. However, whales breed so slowly that it wasn't long before the intensive whaling pushed many species, including the blue whale, to the edge of extinction.
Commercial whaling has now been banned for several decades, and blue whale numbers are slowly increasing. Today there are between 10 000 and 12 000 blue whales living in the oceans around the world.

Image bank - click on the pictures for more information.

Blue whale ear bones       Blue whale       Baleen
Whale skeletons               Whale skull               Whale jaw bone

Find out more:
Blue whale fact pack
Everything you need to know about the blue whale
More about the blue whale and other marine mammals
Images of the blue whale - photos and videos
Print out your own blue whale image page (PDF, 166Kb)

Find out about the extinct and endangered animals in the Museum.

Hilda the hippo Dodo
Blue whale
Golden toad
Giant panda
Passenger pigeon
Schaus' swallowtail

Go to the Homepage to find out about hippos and the causes of extinction.