Did You Know?
A Atlantic right whale comes to the surface to breathe
air by blowing out water through its blowhole.
~Photo courtesy of NOAA/NEFSC, Peter Duley~
- Seals, sea lions, and walruses are called "pinnipeds" and whales, dolphins, and porpoises are called "cetaceans."
- Marine mammals can stay underwater for long periods, like the sperm whale that can stay underwater for up to two hours.
- Like all mammals, marine mammals must breathe air. Cetaceans like whales and dolphins use their blowholes and pinnipeds like seals and sea lions use their nose and mouth.
- A group of whales or dolphins is commonly called a pod, a school or a gam.
- In the wild, whales and dolphins communicate with a variety of low sounds unheard by the human ear. An interesting type of sound they use is echolocation, which is when their sound travels through the water, bounces off objects and returns to the whale, telling the whale the shape, size and distance of the objects in the water around them.
Check out an article from a previous issue of the Conservationist magazine to find information on common whales in New York and where to go for whale watching. Also, find more facts about individual marine mammals by clicking on the links below.