How Big Are Whales?

A whales size can vary greatly depending on its species.

The largest of the whale species is the blue whale which can grow to an average length of 70 – 90 ft. and weigh an average of 100 – 150 tons, however in some cases the blue whale has measured in at over 100 ft. in length and weighed more than 180 tons.

The blue whales heart alone can weigh more than a small car (over 1,300 pounds)!

On the other end the smallest whale is the dwarf sperm whale which has measures in at a mere 9 ft. with an average weight of around 400 – 600 pounds.

In fact the dwarf sperm whale is so small that it could take up to 11 dwarf sperm whales lined up in a row to measure up to a 100 ft blue whale.

Here are a few more measurements of some popular whales:

Beluga Whale: Average length 10 – 15 ft – Average weight 2,000 – 3,500 pounds

Blue Whale: Average length 70 – 90 ft Average weight up to 150 tons or more

Bowhead Whale: Average length up to 66 ft Average weight up to 100 tons or more

Gray Whale: Average length 45 – 48 ft Average weight up to 40 tons

Humpback Whale: Average length 40 – 60 ft Average weight up to 39 tons

Minke Whale: Average length 22 – 24 ft Average weight up to 14 tons

Narwhal Whale: Average length 13 – 20 ft Average weight up to 3,500 pounds

Right Whale: Average length up to 60 ft Average weight up to 60 tons

Sperm Whale: Average length 55 – 65 ft Average weight 50 tons

Killer whale: Average length 16 – 26 ft Average weight up to 6 tons

Note: Despite being called a “killer whale” this marine mammal is actually part of the dolphin family.

The cetacean species

As a species whales belong to the cetacean family, which also consists of all species of dolphin and porpoise.

Scientifically there are two suborders that all cetaceans belong to based on their physical characteristics.

These two suborders are refereed to as the toothed whale and baleen whale suborders.

Whales that possess teeth belong to the toothed whale suborder.

These marine mammals also possess echolocation and are born with a single blowhole, rather than two.

Whales that possess baleen plates belong to the baleen whale suborder.

Instead of teeth these whales have baleen plates with bristles that allow them to filter their food by swimming towards it with their mouth open to capture their prey in their bristles while allowing water to sift in and out of their mouth.

Once they’ve collected enough fish, squid, krill or other crustacean these marine mammals use their tongue to push the excess water out of their mouth and swallow their food whole.

Aside from baleen plates baleen whales are also born with two blowholes and in most cases baleen whales are significantly larger than their toothed whale counterparts.

Because cetaceans are marine mammals they breathe air, are warm-blooded, give birth to live young and produce milk to feed their children.