Unlike fresh water dolphins whales live solely in saltwater environments, which is believed to have certain health properties that allow whales to heal from injuries quickly and avoid getting sick.
Salt water environments also provide whales with the abundant food sources they need in order to survive.
When it comes to a whales habitat as a species whales can be found swimming in all of the major oceans from the Arctic and Antarctic environments to the tropics located near the center of the equator.
Depending on the species of whale, the abundance of that species and several other factors some species may be very abundant in some parts of the ocean while almost completely absent in others, especially during migration periods where a particularly large abundance whales will leave one environment and temporarily relocate to another in order to mate or feed.
Factors such as food supply, the whales overall size (which affects the climate the whale can comfortably survive in) and the whales mating grounds can affect the environment that a particular species can be found living in.
Killer whales for example can be found living in all of the major oceans, but are usually concentrated in areas where there is a large food supply and are likely to migrate to areas where they food supply is traveling.
Humpback whales on the other hand will migrate away from their food supply for mating purposes and will travel thousands of miles from the colder polar regions to the warmer tropical environments found near the equator in order to find a mate or bare offspring.
There are also several species of whale that inhibit small regions all year-long and do not migrate through the various seasons.
The bowhead whale for example travels in and around the Arctic/sub Arctic waters throughout the year only taking the occasion small trip from one location to another from time to time.
So where do whales live?
- Beluga Whale – Beluga whales are generally found swimming in shallow coastal waters in and around Arctic waters. Depending on the area and environment the whale is in some beluga whales will make seasonal migration trips while others will only travel within a small localized area.
- Blue Whale – Blue whales can be found traveling throughout all the major oceans. They can often be seen swimming in the colder regions during feeding season and will migrate towards tropical waters when mating.
- Bowhead Whale – Unlike other species of whale bowhead whales are generally found traveling in Arctic/sub Arctic oceans year round and aren’t known for making long migration trips.
- Gray Whale – Gray whales are often found swimming in the eastern and western North Pacific Ocean during feeding season and will migrate towards the Baja Peninsula of Mexico and the Southern Golf of California where they can mate and bare offspring during their mating period.
- humpback whale – While humpback whales can be found traveling all over the world they prefer the cold waters in and around the Arctic and Antarctic oceans.
- killer whale – Killer whales can be seen traveling throughout the worlds major oceans, but they typically prefer cooler climates compared to the tropical climates found near the equator. As stated earlier the migration pattern of these dolphins is more often than not determined by their prey’s migration.
- Minke Whale – There are two known species of minke whales currently in existence, the common or north Atlantic minke whale (which inhibits the north Atlantic waters) and the Antarctic or southern minke whale (which lives in the Antarctic region south of the equator). Due to differences in climate changes in both regions the two species of whale do not meet one another during mating periods when they travel towards the equator to mate and bare offspring because their mating seasons are different.
- Narwhal Whale – Narwhal whales can be found living in or near the Canadian Arctic and Greenlandic waters throughout the year. During the fall and winter they migrate away from the coastal waters (offshore) in order to avoid large areas of ice and frozen water and will move back towards coastal grounds during the warmer spring and summer months.
- Sperm Whale – Sperm whales can be found in all of the worlds major oceans. Female sperm whales and their young prefer to stay in near tropical waters all year-long while the males can be seen traveling back and forth from the colder climates to the warmer climates during mating periods.