Green is CoolAnimalsAll about the Fascinating Way of Whale Breastfeeding, Blue Whale Babies & More
Animals

All about the Fascinating Way of Whale Breastfeeding, Blue Whale Babies & More

Oct.25.2021 117 view review
How Do Whales Drink Milk Underwater

The marine life of an entire aquatic world is one of the most fascinating and interesting on our planet. There are so many unknowns and so many possibilities we wouldn’t think possible that happen out of our line of sight. With so much research going into learning about the creatures of our ocean, you would be surprised to hear some of the profound facts that have been established. For one whale, they are the biggest water mammal in the world, and a breastfeeding animal too. Think about it: how do baby whales drink milk whilst underwater? Crazy, right but also a very true fact that says a lot about the intelligence and unique adaptations of the large, beautiful underwater creature.

How Do Whales Drink Milk Underwater?

Doesn’t it sound like a phenomenon that whales can actually feed their youngest whilst immersed under the deep blue waters of our ocean? The truth is whale baby feeding is just one of the miraculous discoveries of the endless possibilities of aquatic life. There are so many questions regarding this fact, and so many interesting facts regarding the question and I am here to explain it all. For an even better understanding, we’ll take a lot of dolphin breastfeeding and fish too.

Do Whales Have Milk?

Do Whales Have Milk

In order to understand more about blue whale babies, we first need to understand how they are treated and fed as young. All mammals, big, small, on land or in what needs milk as an essential part of their development. Of Course, being aquatic makes breastfeeding marginally harder. So do whales have mammary glands? Yes, whale mammary glands come with being a mammal and most definitely produce milk once giving birth to their young, but the even larger question is how do they breastfeed underwater?

Do Whales Have Nipples?

Another essential part of carrying through the breastfeeding process is true nipples, or the area in which the milk can be transported from the mother to the young. There are many mammals that live underwater, but it is important to know that they have all evolved in three different classes and thus breastfeeding their young differently. Whales are one of the more evolved mammals of the ocean and have something known as mammary slits. Inside these mammary slits are their nipples, which are actually inverted towards the skin. When the calf is ready to feed they will dive underneath the mother and nudge on the mammary slits. The whale nipples will then be released and the baby blue whale calf will be able to feed off their milk.

What Is Whale Breastmilk Like?

What Is Whale Breastmilk Like

Whale breastfeeding milk differs a lot from the milk we are used to seeing in humans. Whale milk actually has a very thick consistency, to the point where it almost appears solid. This thickness is largely due to the fat content that is present in their milk. Whales breastfeeding milk can reach up to fifty percent fat in some cases. It’s not just the consistency that is different but also the amount. Whales produce large amounts of milk in order to sustain their young ones, which makes sense considering their massive size. A blue whale’s baby can gain weight extremely quickly and puts on about 100 kg of baby whale weight in just a single day. Their milk is also very rich in nutrients and is a vital element for the growth of the calf. This consistency is also a large contribution to why whales can breastfeed underwater, as it is thick enough to pass through water without dispersing.

How Do Whales Feed Their Young?

Now that you understand the many elements of whale breastfeeding, we can start putting the entire process into perspective. The whale will produce milk in its mammary glands hidden underneath the mammary slit. When the calf is born it will locate the mammary slit, nudge on it and the nipple will be released. After this, the young calf will wrap its mouth around the nipples to ensure that the milk is directly channeled into their mouth. The baby whale will roll their tongue into a U shape, which pushes against the upper palate, urging the mother to eject milk. The lactation period for whales lasts a very long time and differs depending on species but can be seen anywhere from 6 months to 3 years.

Where Are Dolphins Nipples Located?

Dolphins have nipples that are located in their mammary slits. This is very similar to the way that whales lactate, however, their location is closer to the belly. They will feed their young for around three years and have many of the same sensory and intelligence characteristics of a whale. The relationship between whales and their calves and dolphins and theirs is very emotional and social and exclusive. The mothers are extremely protective of their young and become quite territorial when it comes to the feeding process. So how do whales differ from fish ? We understand the similarity of whales and dolphins but what about the most common marine animal, the fish. There are large differences between the two, the most common being that whales are warm-blooded mammals and fish are marine animals. Both are vertebrates and choose to live in similar aquatic environments. However, whales will only live in ocean water and fish can be found in both fresh and saltwater.

Whale Breastfeeding Facts and Information

Whale Breastfeeding Facts

Whales are one of the most fascinating mammals in our world and an extremely vital element of our entire ecosystem. Apart from how they breastfeed and the very particular adaptations they have to have in order to do so underwater, there are more facts that make them stand out even more.

  • Do whales lactate? Yes, female whales will begin to lactate as soon as their calf is born ready to feed them with the bobtail nutrients they need to survive the conditions of the water.
  • Whale’s milk is similar to the consistency of toothpaste.
  • The high-fat consistency of the mother’s milk will allow it to travel through water without dissolving or disintegrating before reaching the mouth of the calf.
  • The fatty milk is what will allow the baby to develop and grow correctly.
  • Baby’s whales can consume anywhere between 2% to 10% of their own body weight a day.
  • Female whales will mate with several males in a single season in order to optimize reproduction.
  • Females will produce once every 1-5 years and typically produce a single offspring.
  • A female whale is called a cow, a male whale is called a bull, and a baby whale is called a calf.
  • The breastfeeding and stronger mother-child relationship that is built through this process will actually expand the chance of the calf’s lifespan increasing.

Now that you have learned a lot more about how whales nurse, you may begin to have a larger appreciation for the species as a whole. The breastfeeding element of a whale is the only factor that will ensure that that baby’s whale can survive, grow and develop in the correct manner. Without it, they will not make it, and considering the little reproduction in whales, survival is essential.

Having whales in our oceans is essential for the survival of every living organism on our planet, including us humans. They are a species that is often hunted illegally, poached, and in some cases killed for pride and luxury. Changing or disturbing the bonds between mother and young may disrupt a lot more than what we may believe. So let’s all act today to save the remainder of the whale species, protect the young and the state of our environment.

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