Leaping Giants: Do Blue Whales Breach?

do blue whales breach

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The blue whale is the largest mammal that lives on our planet. They are typically 26 meters long and weigh between 150,000 – 300,000 pounds.

This gigantic size and all of this weight mean the blue whale is not as agile as some other whale species, but they can summon a lot of power from their large fluke when they need to.

In this post, we’re going to take a look at blue whale breaching, and answer a common question asked here at MarinePatch. Do blue whales breach?

In short, yes blue whales do breach. Although incredibly rare, blue whales have been known to breach out of the water on some occasions.

Let’s take a closer look…

Do Blue Whales Actually Breach?

Given the size of most whales, it may seem a little strange that these animals can often be seen jumping out of the water.

So much so that whale watchers all around the world go out on boats every single day and witness these events.

Some species such as humpback whales, right whales, and sperm whales are all regular breachers and it’s still somewhat of a mystery as to why they do it.

Its believed by scientists that whales breach in order to communicate with each other.

When they breach out of the water, they create a large splash that can often be heard by other whales from miles away.

It’s an effective form of communication between whales, especially when there is traffic in their environments such as fishing boats or other vessels.

But what about the blue whale, do they breach?

Despite their massive size, the blue whale does breach on occasion, but it’s much rarer to see a blue whale breach than say a humpback.

Why Do Blue Whales Rarely Breach?

Some researchers have studied blue whales for over 40 years and have never once seen them breach out of the water.

So why is it so rare for blue whales to breach?

One of the reasons is likely due to energy expenditure. The amount of energy it takes for a blue whale to reach the speeds needed to launch itself out of the water is immense.

They are not nimble, lightweight dolphins that with a flick of their tail can gain speeds to jump high out of the water.

The cost of breaching for blue whales increases based on their size and weight, which is largely driven by the speeds it requires for the whale to break out of the water.

Oftentimes, it’s just not worth it for blue whales to breach, so they don’t do it. Some scientists even debate as to whether blue whales can reach the speeds needed to fully breach out of the water.

When a blue whale breaches, it’s not as high or dramatic as say a humpback breach, but it is equally spectacular.

Blue whales are elegant, gentle creatures that have a fluidity about them, and their breaches are the same.

What Is The Reason Blue Whales Sometimes Breach?

Blue whale breaching is rare, but it does happen sometimes. If you’re lucky enough to witness a blue whale breaching then you should count your lucky stars.

That said, blue whale juveniles have even been seen breaching. They certainly can do it if they want or need to.

So why would a blue whale launch itself out of the water to breach?

Well, aside from wanting to communicate with other whales in the area, as discussed earlier there are a few theories, but keep in mind that scientists still don’t know why whales exhibit this behavior.

One possible reason could be to create a loud, smacking noise that could be used to attract attention or warn off other whales.

This would explain why they can sometimes be observed slapping their tails off the water, which can seem like a warning behavior.

Another hypothesis is that when they hear a ship approaching, they pop up to take a quick look around.

Its although debated that breaching could be used to help their digestive system move food through their bodies from their mass feeding.

Breaching could also be a self-cleaning behavior, as many species of whales attract barnacles that can stick to whales.

When whales breach they could be attempting to remove some of the barnacles that they have collected whilst feeding in the ocean.

Some scientists believe that some species of whale such as the humpback are simply breaching for fun.

The truth is, we really don’t know why whales, let alone blue whales breach from the water. What we do know is that it’s a breathtaking spectacle that is beautiful, whatever the reason.

Why Do Some Whales Breach More Than Others?

The reason why some whales breach more than others is likely down to the energy expenditure of particular species of whales.

However, as we don’t know the reason why whales breach in the first place, it’s tricky to define why some whales breach more than others.

Some are much larger than others, like the blue whale, making it much more difficult and more taxing to breach out of the water than say a humpback.

The humpback whale seems to be the whale species that breaches the most, as with a powerful fluke it doesn’t take long for them to generate the speed needed to breach.

The size, weight, and power of each individual whale species play a big role in a whale’s ability to breach.

Final Thoughts

Do blue whales breach? Yes, although it’s incredibly rare.

Witnessing any whale breach is an experience that will stay with you for life. They are incredibly large, powerful animals that seem to put on a show for humans when we go whale watching.

Some whales have been known to stick around boats and breach for long periods of time as if to show off their breaching skills.

Whatever the reason for the breaching, it’s an impressive natural spectacle that still baffles scientists today.

Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed this post about blue whale breaching and you now know why they sometimes breach.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post, feel free to stick around to learn more about blue whales.