Southern Right Whale (also known as the 'smiling whale')
is one of the largest, gentlest mammals. Like
humans, they are warm blooded, give birth to live,
fully developed young, breathe air, and feed their
young on their milk. An adult whale averages
15 metres in length and 50 tonnes in weight.
The Southern Right Whale is in the Baleen family of
whales (blue whale, fin whale, southern right whale,
sei whale, minke whale and humpback whale) which denotes
that they are toothless whales. Whales exist
only in the ocean.
Southern Right Whale has a smooth black back, and
a v-shaped spout from its blowhole, but no dorsal
fin. Each whales' underbelly is marked with
white patches and the whale's head has unique callosites
(crusty growths) that enables the whale to be readily
identified by humans. The Southern Right Whales
normally swim between 3 to 9 kilometres per hour.
The fertile waters of the Antarctic make it perfect
feeding grounds for the Southern Right Whale as well
as for all other whale species, seabirds, seals, squid
and fish. Here the whales feed on krill.
(The krill is a shrimp-like marine animal that live
in huge swarms in the open sea. They range from
8 to 60 mm From January to April, a swarm
of krill could contain as much as 20 kg per cubic
metre).. The whales keep themselves warm in the cold
Antarctic by developing a layer of fat under the skin,
called blubber. These whales stay in the Antarctic
over the summer months and annually migrate to their
breeding grounds. These whales eat little
or nothing at all during their travelling and breeding
Southern Right Whale inhabits and breeds from May
to September in the southern coastal waters of Australia,
especially enclosed bays. The waters off the
coast of Warrnambool are perfect for breeding grounds.
The Southern Right Whale usually breeds every 3 years.
The pregnancy is 11 months. A calf is approximately
5 to 6 metres at birth and can double in weight over
the first week. The calf sucks milk from it's
mother's milk gland on her underside.
The Southern Right Whales received their name from
early whalers. This particular whale swims slowly,
in herds, and close to the shore. Once
harpooned, they would float on the surface.
These whales produced a large amount of oil and whalebone,
making it an excellent catch, and the 'right' whale
to hunt. Today, the Southern Right Whale is
protected in Australian waters.
Platform, Logan's Beach, Warrnambool
From the excellent viewing platform on Logan's Beach,
Warrnambool, you may be fortunate enough see different