Blue whales are the largest animal to ever inhabit planet earth; since ancient times humans have been mesmerized by them.
So much actually, that these animals have become an important part of mythology and folklore across the globe.
For some cultures, the blue whale is a protector of ships and fishermen, a God even. For others, this elusive creature is a man-eater or a demon; so which is it? Are they friendly? Or are blue whales dangerous?
When you think of the fact that there have been zero recorded incidents of a blue whale killing, or even hurting a human, we can conclude that blue whales are not dangerous.
However, due to its sheer size, it’s easy to assume you could be hurt by one.
Let’s read on to discover just how much of a threat a blue whale could pose for such a small creature like you and I.
Are Blue Whales Actually Dangerous?
Although peaceful by nature, blue whales can easily reach a length of 33 m / 110 feet and an impressive weight of over 150 tons / 330,000 lbs, so even though they are not aggressive, an accidental collision with one could cause serious harm to you.
There are no recorded incidents of a direct collision between a blue whale and a person, on the other hand, there are countless reports of crashes between whales and ships, submarines, and other human-operated vessels resulting in the whale getting hurt or even dying.
If you take into account these two facts we can determine that blue whales are not actually dangerous; meanwhile, humans do pose a significant threat to these magnificent creatures.
There are many measures put in place to protect the blue whales and their population has been increasing at a rate of 7 – 8% a year for about a decade.
Do Blue Whales Attack Humans?
An animal of such great size is equal parts breathtaking and intimidating; nevertheless, you don’t need to worry if you are lucky enough to find yourself in the vicinity of a blue whale, as this animal has no interest in attacking humans.
First of all, you and I are just too small for a blue whale to feel threatened by our presence.
And even if you were to make it feel uncomfortable in any way, chances are it would just swim off before trying to engage in confrontation.
Secondly, despite its large size, the blue whale is a baleen whale meaning it has no teeth and feeds via a filtering system that prevents it from swallowing large prey.
Most of its diet is made up of krill, and it will occasionally consume very small fish and crustaceans.
So unless you look like krill, a blue whale won’t think of you as prey it must attack to get a meal.
Even though you can easily fit inside a blue whale’s mouth, its esophagus only measures 25 cm / 10 in. in diameter so a blue whale wouldn’t be able to eat you even if it tried.
Is It Safe To Swim Near A Blue Whale?
Swimming in the beautiful blue ocean alongside animals as majestic as blue whales is something that I have always dreamed of doing, and if you are reading this, chances are you would also love this experience.
The good news for you and me is that it is safe to swim near blue whales and it can be done in Sri Lanka and the Azores Islands off the coast of Portugal.
The bad news is that there are many tour operators that will offer this experience illegally causing terrible harm to the animals we love.
If you ever have the chance to live the amazing experience of swimming with a blue whale, make sure you do it through a permitted operator as this will guarantee that the experience is not only safe and enjoyable for you, but respectful towards the blue whales involved.
I highly recommend checking out the International Whaling Commission’s (IWC) “Whale Watching Handbook” if you’re planning on swimming with blue whales to better prepare for the experience of a lifetime.
Something that makes swimming with blue whales safer than with other whale species is the fact that because of their vast size they rarely breach.
This minimizes the chances of being accidentally crushed by one as it re-enters the water.
Has A Blue Whale Ever Killed Anyone?
There is no recorded evidence of a blue whale ever killing a person.
These creatures really are gentle giants that will rarely show any aggressive behavior.
Most of the time, blue whales will seem just as interested in you, as you are in them and will just wander off if feeling uncomfortable.
It is important, however, to keep in mind that the blue whale is the largest animal that has ever lived and, as all animals do, deserves our utmost respect.
If watching them from a boat, we must keep in mind to maintain a safe distance from blue whales as they could easily tip a vessel (even accidentally).
If you are lucky enough to be in the water with blue whales always remember to be respectful, especially around mothers with calves.
So are blue whales dangerous? Certainly not. These animals are as noble and gentle as they are big and have no interest in causing harm to a human.
If you find yourself to be in the presence of a blue whale, fear not and soak in every second of it as it could easily be a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will change the way you view these sublime creatures forever.
I hope you have enjoyed learning about blue whales as much as I love educating about them and that you will stick around to discover more amazing truths about the elusive and marvelous animals that call the oceans their home.
Until next time!
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Hi, I’m George – the founder of MarinePatch. I created this blog as marine wildlife has been my passion for many years and I’ve spent decades learning and dedicating myself to documenting all I can about the topic.