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Rorquals: Balaenopteridae - Diet

water food baleen mouth

Rorqual whales eat small fish, squid, and other small marine animals. Much of their diet is made up by krill, which are tiny shrimp-like animals. They obtain their food by filtering large quantities of water through their baleen. Normally they feed at depths no greater than 300 feet (91 meters) and stay under water no longer than ten minutes.

To capture the large amount of food that they need, rorquals expand their mouth and open it wide. Then they close their mouth most of the way, leaving only the baleen exposed, like a sieve (siv) between their lips, and squeeze the water out by ramming their tongue against the baleen. This pushes out the water and leaves the food behind. The blue whale, the largest rorqual, can eat 8 tons (7.3 metric tons) of krill per day.

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