Bowhead Whale Facts for Kids

Bowhead Whale (Balaena mysticetus) has the largest mouth in the world for any animal. It is a solitary baleen whale and the size of its pods (groups) consists of not more than 6 individuals. It is a slow-swimmer and cannot swim at more than 3.1 mph.

It has dark-shaded appearance with a stubby body. The color of its chin is white. It has no dorsal fin. Its skull is triangle-shaped. It has the thickest blubber among all animals. One-third of its body length consists of its head.

It can grow up to a length range of 46 to 59 feet and weighs around 166,000 to 220,000 pounds. At birth, the size of a calf is 13 to 15 feet and weighs up to 2,200 pounds. In the first year after birth, the calf reaches 27 feet in length. The size of the largest bowhead whale is 59 feet. The size of its baleen plates is 9.8 feet, which is the longest among all whales.

Bowhead whale is one of the longest-lived mammals on earth. It has a lifespan of more than 200 years.

Mating season starts from March till August. These whales mature at the age of 10 to 15 years. They are highly vocal and use different calls for mating. The calves are reproduced after every 3 to 4 years.

Bowhead whale inhabits sub-arctic and arctic oceans of the world. It is the only baleen whale to live here.

Bowheads feed on tiny organisms called zooplanktons. It includes krill, shrimp, crabs, amphipods and copepods. They can dive down to a depth of up to 500 feet.

Humans are the known predators of these whales. Bowheads are hunted for oil, bones, blubber and flesh. Besides, orcas also pose significant threat to their survival.

Other Names: Polar Whale, Russian Whale, Greenland Right Whale and Arctic Whale

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