Whale Facts

Whale Facts

  • Humpback Whales belong to the family of Baleen Whales. Fully grown adults can reach up to 16 meters (52 feet) in length and weigh up to 50 tons.
  • Their scientific name Megaptera translates as “Great Wing”. This relates to their unusually long pectoral fins which can reach up to 5 metres in length and therefore measure a third of their entire body length.
  • Humpback Whales are known to be the most “playful” amongst whales, splashing and breaching more than any other species and being naturally curious about foreign objects in the water including boats.
  • The male Humpback Whale is also famous for its song; it lasts about 20-30 minutes and gets repeated over and over again by all males in the area. The song gets modified every season and it is estimated that the song is part of the whales’ mating behaviour.

  • Like all Baleen Whales, Humpbacks feed on krill and small fish life. During their feeding season, they are estimated to eat up to two tons of food in a single day.
  • Humpback Whales migrate every year between their feeding grounds near Antarctica where they spend most of summer and the warmer tropical waters up North where they mate and give birth. When migrating, Humpback Whales can travel distances of up to 25,000 kilometres. During migration, they fast and live off the fat reserves of their summer season.
  • At the age of 5-8 years, Humpback Whales reach sexual maturity and from that age onwards, females can give birth to a calf every 2 to 3 years. A mother will carry the calf for 12 months before giving birth. It is estimated that the lifespan of Humpback Whales ranges from 45-100 years.
  • Our East Coast population of Humpbacks is steadily growing. It is estimated that they increase by 10% per year and that in 2016 up to 20,000 Humpback Whales were migrating along the East Coast of Australia.