How big is an actual blue whale? #FridayReflections

Dr Roshan Radhakrishnan
While talking with a fellow doctor recently, we drifted down to the topic of the largest living creature on the planet. Now it seemed an easy enough answer to me - the blue whale, of course. But his next question really had me stumped.

'How big is an actual blue whale? In comparison to an elephant? Or a human being?'
Now, you and I know to say 'Very big' but do you know the actual figures? Sure we studied it as kids once upon a time but I honestly did not remember. My guess that day to him (without checking the internet) was that a blue whale must be equal to around 100 tonnes i.e. 20 elephants or 1000 human beings. How good do you think my guesses were?

We will get back to that. But before that, here are some other fun facts about the big blues of the oceans.

  1. A blue whale weighs around 3 tonnes at birth. It gains around 100 kilos every day in its first year (so you might have trouble buying the correct size of baby outfits while going to visit the new parents.)
  2. Blue whales eat around 4000 kgs everyday of shrimp-like creatures called krill (which is close to my diet if you substitute krill with prawns. So pffft to them on that one!)
  3. The weight of their tongue alone is equal to that of one adult female elephant.
  4. The blue whale is not just the largest but also the loudest animal on the planet. Their call is louder than that of a jet engine.
  5. In good conditions, it is said they can hear each other up to a distance of 1600 kms. (Which means it is useless playing Chinese Whispers with them because they never get it wrong.)
  6. Their heart is the size of a small car. 
  7. Their heartbeat can be heard from two miles away.
  8. The vessel pumping blood from a whale's heart is large enough for an adult human being to crawl inside.
  9. A blue whale is around 25 - 30 meters in length.
  10. They live around 80 - 90 years.

Okay. Your time is up. Done with your guesses about the blue whale vs elephant vs man comparisons? Well, here are the actual results.

  • A blue whale, on average, weighs between 140 to 200 tonnes
  • Considering the weight of an average Indian male elephant is 5.4 tonnes (the female is half at 2.7), that would mean a blue whale would be the size of over 36 Indian male elephants!
  • And considering the average human weight is around 60 kgs, that would mean that a blue whale would be the equivalent of over 3300 human beings!

The  blue whale, is the largest living animal on the planet.   They weigh between 140 -200 tonnes. That would be the weight of over 50 - 72 Indian female elephants or over 3300 human beings!  The weight of their tongue alone is equal to that of one adult female elephant.  The blue whale is the loudest animal on the planet.  A blue whale weighs around 3 tons at birth. It gains over a 100 kilograms every day in the first year alone.  They eat around 4000 kgs a day of shrimp-like creatures called krill.  A blue whale is around 25 - 30 meters in length.  They live around 80 - 90 years.

My job is done here... now it is your turn to go show off this new found("forgotten-but-newly-remembered") general knowledge and add it into conversations to show off how intelligent you are. Me, I'm off to eat. I don't know why but I suddenly have a craving for lots of kilos of prawns.

Author's note:

I am linking this to today's #FridayReflections blogger prompt which asked us to write about an interesting conversation from recent times. You can find posts from fellow bloggers for Friday Reflections here.

Everyday Gyaan

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Let me know what you think.

  1. Its so amazing to know inspite of eating and swimming so deep ,they don't reduce weight๐Ÿ˜œ..
    In fact ,These big guys are on the verge of extinction it seems with only 10,000 left in the world,which used to be 25000,due to poaching by sailors for blubber and fat..Also it's blood and saliva has anticancerous and disease curing properties.If these amazing creatures population are wiped out from the surface of earth,I bet we ll be left with BLUE WHALE GAME ONLY to show future generations ๐Ÿ˜‘๐Ÿ˜ž ..As taught by my diving expert once,these are very shy creatures and fun to dive with unlike sharks๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜ฐ..One of my life greatest bucket list is to scuba dive with a blue whale if possible,before they get extinct๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€

  2. Those are some cool and amazing facts which I was not aware of.
    I loved how you made a wonderful post from a short conversation! :D

  3. I've read about blue whales! Fascinating facts, Roshan. Always thrilling to read about our fellow creatures. In the Universe, we are but a dot!

  4. Roshan, although I am a Zoology graduate with Fisheries as my main topic in third year, I wasn't aware of these facts about the Blue whale :) Thanks for sharing. We learn something new everyday.

  5. I first thought your post was about the Blue Whale Challenge that has claimed the lives of so many innocents. Then I wondered what prompt you were responding to. Finally I figured it was really an innocent Increase your knowledge post that was inspired by a conversation you heard.
    Go for the prawns Roshan - they're easier to catch than whales ( remember Ahab? )

  6. Haha. I am craving for seafood as well. Thanks for participating, Doc. This was fun and helped in refreshing my GK. ��

  7. Wow! Those were amazing fun facts!

  8. Wow loved some fun facts abt blue whales. How awesome is that they are as big as 3300 human beings. Woha definitely showing my gk this weekend with friends

  9. What fun Blue whale fact.Can hear from 1600Km away is exceptional.About Gk,this one I will remember

  10. so thrilled to know so many astonishing facts about blue whale. OMG it's size equivalent to 3k+ humans.

  11. Heart is a size of a small! These are some great facts which I didn't know. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Wow.. I loved this post. Felt like a soothing update at the end of the day. Blue whale is truly an amazing creature.

  13. Facts I seldom was aware about... Looks like my knowledge needs more brushing up!!

  14. Wow, I knew nothing about Whales. Thanks for sharing this. Hey Doc, Why don't you start a new feature --FACTS.

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