Whales are sea mammals. They are warm-blooded. Whales breathe in air and have lungs just like humans. There are ten main species of whales. These whales are further divided into two types: baleen whales and toothed whales.
Some of the whales commonly known include Blue whale, Fin whale, Humpback whale, Right whale, Sperm whale, Sei whale, Minke whale, Grey whale, and the Bryde’s whale. These whales are 9 feet to 98 feet long. They can also weigh up to 200 tons.
The Blue whale is the largest mammal on earth. Whales have a variety of food in their diet. This includes small sea creatures like krill and small fish. Whales also eat larger animals like large squids and sometimes they eat seals. Their diet will depend on their habitat.
Most whales live in pods. Pods play an important role during food hunting. While in pods, whales can protect the calves and the sick whales. Whales do sleep. How do whales sleep? This article will give you more insight into the whale’s sleep.
How long do whales sleep?
Whales need to sleep after a long time of moving around swimming and looking for food. Unlike humans, who can sleep for long hours, whales only sleep for a short time. Humans can breathe while asleep. This is not the same with whales.
Whales are conscious breathers. This means that while sleeping, their bodies cannot automatically breathe in and out. If the whales do not breathe, they risk dying due to drowning. Whales and dolphins who form up the cetacean family only sleep for a maximum of 30 minutes.
Sleeping for more than 30 minutes will make the whale risk its life. Their body temperature will become low because of inactivity and they will eventually suffocate and drown.
Where do whales sleep?
Whales live in oceans all over the world. The ocean is where they get their food. Whales also breed in the ocean. Whales breed and give birth in the ocean. It is only right to say that whales also do sleep in the ocean.
All whales sleep in the ocean. Where the whale will, sleep will depend on its species or type. All whales need oxygen to survive. They thus come to the surface of the water to breathe the oxygen they need. Whales have lungs to help them in this process.
Some whales, prefer to sleep on the surface of the water. This helps them to breathe well since their blowhole, which acts like the nose, is located on top of their heads. Some whales prefer sleeping at deeper depths.
Some whales get captured and placed in aquariums. When captured, they sleep in their aquariums or tanks.
What do whales do at night?
During the day, whales are active. They swim from one place to the other. Whales also hunt for food during the day. Whales have also been seen playing with their calves during the day. Whales also follow ships and boats during the day.
Dolphins hunt for food during the night. This is not the same for whales. At night, you will find most whales sleeping. They however do not sleep for the whole night. As seen earlier, whales take some sort of “naps” at night. Whales only sleep for a maximum of 30 minutes at intervals.
This does not mean that whales only sleep for 30 minutes. When they wake up, they take another 30 minutes to sleep until the night is done.
Some whales, while sleeping at night, they have dreams. Whales also do communicate at night. Some whales hunt at night. When it becomes dark, some organisms in the ocean become more active. Whales take advantage of this and go hunting at night. An example of a whale that goes hunting at night is the Pilot whale.
How do whales sleep without drowning?
Whales are big animals. They can grow up to 98 feet long and weigh up to 200 tons. A whale’s diet contributes to the growth of a whale. Being this heavy, you might think that a whale will easily drown while asleep.
Whales do not drown while sleeping. During the 30 minutes sleep they take, whales have come up with techniques to ensure they do not drown. While awake, whales are fast swimmers and they move in the water. They cover long distances in water and hence get tired.
When whales want to sleep, one method they use is resting in the water. Doing this means that the whale will not be actively swimming. While resting, the whale will just move quietly without using much of its energy. This prevents the whale from drowning.
Another method whales use to sleep without drowning is swimming slowly next to each other. This is particularly done when a whale’s calf is young. If a mother whale stops swimming completely, the calf might drown. Whales in pods also swim side by side while sleeping.
How do whales breathe while they sleep?
Humans’ breathing is automatic. Despite whales being mammals, their breathing is not automatic. This means that when they sleep completely, they will stop breathing, suffocate and eventually drown.
While sleeping, whales have to keep half of their brain awake. If a whale decides to sleep, it can decide to keep its right side of the brain awake and the left eye open. With one part of the brain active, the whale can breathe and prevent drowning.
Whales, by using the blowhole, sleep on the surface of the water. This helps them to breathe since the blowhole is exposed to the air in the atmosphere.
Why do whales sleep vertically?
The sperm whale sleeps vertically in the water. Sperm whales look like logs while they sleep in the water. While sleeping vertically, sperm whales do so for around 10 to 15 minutes. While sleeping, they do not breathe. While in the vertical position, the sperm whales drift to the surface of the water, head first, to breathe again.
The sperm whale has adapted this method of sleeping because it is easier to swim to the surface of the water in case they need air. The water currents also push them towards the surface of the water.
Why do whales sleep upside down?
Not all whales sleep upside down. An example of a whale that sleeps upside down is the humpback whale. The main reason for this kind of sleeping is for the whale to be able to see any danger coming into the water. Humpback whales also sleep like this to be able to raise their heads to the surface of the water and breathe in some air.
Whales do sleep in the water. Their sleep is however not like that of humans. They can only sleep for up to 30 minutes. While sleeping, whales use half of their brains to be able to control their breathing to prevent drowning. At night, some whales sleep, hunt, and communicate.