What Is The Biggest Whale?

The biggest known whale is the blue whale which also happens to be the largest living animal currently in existence.

In fact the blue whale is one of the largest animals to ever roam the earth and is known to rival even the largest of the dinosaurs in terms of size and weight.

The largest blue whales can measure in at over 100 feet long and weigh more than 180 tons when fully matured.

Even a baby blue whale is massive in size compared to many other species of whale.

At birth baby a blue whale can measure in at around 25 feet in length and will continue to grow very quickly during its first few years.

During the first year of birth the baby blue whale can gain as much as 200 pounds per day and consume over 100 gallons of milk every 24 hours.

In comparison to the blue whale the largest living land animal (overall) is the African bush elephant, which can reach a maximum height of 13.8 feet and weigh as much as 27,000 pounds.

The largest flying bird in the world is the Andean Condor which has a 10.5 foot wingspan and weighs in at around 26 - 33 pounds.

Despite being the largest living animal in the world the blue whales diet primarily consists of krill (a small crustacean that generally measures in at mere 1 – 2 centimeters in size, however a few species of krill can grow to lengths of up to 6 inches long).

To provide them with the energy they need to thrive and survive in the ocean blue whales may eat as many as 40 million krill per day.

In addition to krill blue whales may coincidentally end up consuming fish and other small sea life while hunting for and engulfing krill.

Another interesting fact about the blue whale is that during long migration trips a blue whale may completely forgo eating for as long as 4 months living primarily off of their stored body fat/ blubber, which they use for energy.

Even with their simple diet and fasting migration periods blue whales manage to be impressively large.

Part of the reason these marine mammals are able to grow so large has to do with the fact that water provides them with bouncy, which makes it easier for whales to move around regardless of their size.

The ocean is extremely large and expansive allowing blue whales to swim around without having to worry about colliding with nearby objects.

The waters bouncy also helps support the whales large organs which would otherwise be crushed under the weight of gravity that we face as land dwelling creatures.

In addition to supporting the whales large size the ocean also provides whales with a nearly limitless abundance of food, which would be extremely scarce on land for an animal of their magnitude.

Note: The largest blue whale ever recorded measured in at around 110 ft. in length, although there have been claims of a blue whale measuring in at 115 feet in length.

The largest toothed whale

Aside from the baleen whale suborder one of the largest known toothed whales is the sperm whale which can grow to lengths of up to 67 ft. long and weigh up to 65 tons, however on average sperm whales tend to grow between 34 – 55 ft. long depending on the whales sex (male or female) and weigh between 14 – 45 tons.

These large marine mammals are known for being one of the deepest diving animals alive and when searching for prey such as large squid the sperm whale can reach depths of up to 3,000 ft.

When hunting for food at these depths the sperm whale uses echolocation to navigate the ocean and search for prey.

While these marine mammals are very large most other toothed whales are much smaller in size.

For example the second largest toothed whale is often considered Baird’s beaked whale which measures in at an average size of 32 – 36 ft. long with the largest recorded beaked whale growing to a length of over 41 ft. long.

Other large baleen whales

While the blue whale is the largest known whale in existence there are a number of other whale species that are also very large in size.

In fact all species of whale within the baleen whale suborder, with the exception of the minke whale are relatively large in size.

Here is a list including the sizes of most of the baleen whales

  • Blue whale - Up to 100 ft. (70 – 90 average)  long and up to 180 tons
  • Pygmy blue whale - 70 – 80 ft. long, undetermined weight
  • Bowhead whale - Up to 66 ft. long and up to 100 tons
  • Bryde’s whale - 40 – 55 ft. long and up to 30 tons
  • Pygmy Byrde’s whale – Undetermined
  • Fin whale – 60 – 80 ft. long and 130 tons or more
  • Gray whale – Up to 50 ft. and 40 tons
  • Humpback whale – 40 – 60 ft. long and up to 44 tons (one extremely large humpback weighed 99 short tons)
  • Antarctic or Southern minke whale – 25 – 35 ft. long and up to 9.5 tons
  • Common minke whale -  19 – 26 ft. long and up to 14 tons
  • Omura’s whale - Rough estimates suggest an average length of 30 – 38 ft., unconfirmed weight
  • Pygmy right whale -Estimates suggest an average length of 14 – 21 ft. and a weight of up to 7,500 lbs.
  • North atlantic right whale -Up to 50 ft. and 70 tons
  • North pacific right whale - 45 – 55 ft. and up to 70 tons
  • Southern right whale -45 – 55 ft. and up to 60 tons
  • Sei whale - 40 – 50 ft. and up to 50 tons

The biggest dolphins

In addition to whales there are also several large species of dolphin that inhibit the ocean.

The largest known dolphin is the killer whale which can measure up to 32 ft. long and weigh as much as 10 tons.

On average males will grow between 20 – 26 ft. long and weigh between 6 – 6.6 tons while female killer whales will grow to an average of 16 – 23 ft. long and weigh between 3.5 – 4.5 tons.

There are also several other large dolphins such the long-finned pilot whale which can grow between 18 – 25 ft. long and the third largest known dolphin the false killer whale which measures in at up to 20 ft. long (15 – 17 ft. on average) and can weigh up to 2.5 tons when fully grown.

Note: Although all three species carry the name “whale” they are all considered part of the dolphin family.