Other Free Encyclopedias » Animal Life Resource » Mammals » Right Whales and Bowhead Whales: Balaenidae - Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Right Whales And Bowhead Whales And People, Conservation Status - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT

Right Whales and Bowhead Whales: Balaenidae - Diet

baleen mouth krill water

Right whales and bowhead whales feed on small marine animals called krill by using their baleen. They do this by taking in water and krill as they open their large mouth. Next, they close their mouth most of the way, until only the baleen is exposed between their lips at the sides of the mouth, like a sieve (SIV). Then they push the water through the baleen and out between their lips, but the krill are trapped in the baleen and are left in the whale's mouth. By scraping the baleen with their huge tongue, the whales are able to swallow the food that is left after the water rushes out.


Whales have played an important role in popular culture. In the story of Pinocchio, a father and his wooden boy are swallowed by a whale. In Moby Dick, Captain Ahab pursues a white whale that attacks his ship. While these tales tell us of the fear that people have had of whales for centuries, it is important to remember that whales do not feed on people. Most large whales are not even capable of swallowing a person.

Right Whales and Bowhead Whales: Balaenidae - Behavior And Reproduction [next] [back] Right Whales and Bowhead Whales: Balaenidae - Physical Characteristics

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