Whales Diets – Why Do Whales Have Different Dietary Habits?
The diet of whales varies with the species. In the Inukuma (or Southern) Whale, for instance, they eat the flesh and blubber of other whales, along with small fish. In the Humpback (or Grey) Whales this is restricted to squid and smaller fish. In the Southern Blue (or Humphead) Whales, the diet consists mainly of squid and squids, with some fish and a small amount of vegetation. Even so, these are not considered the whales’ only diets.
Most people have no idea that the food items eaten by whales are varied and unique. For instance, a sperm whale (which is actually a group of different whales called cetaceans, which are whales with soft flukes) will eat both fish and vegetation in its diet. While individual sperm whales may eat only fish, other whales in the same pod may eat all types of prey. It all depends on the species and the location where the whales swim around.
In contrast to what people believe, not all whales are carnivores. Herbivores, or animals that eat plants, do exist in the wild. For instance, the Right Whale, a species of baleen whales, eats vegetation, berries, nuts and seeds. Other species, however, do not eat any plant matter at all, although they may drink fish and sometimes consume meat. These include the Southern Right Whales (which live in the Southern Hemisphere), the Humpback, the sperm whales and the North Atlantic Right Whale, among others.
In fact, not all whales swim in pods. There are several pods in different parts of the world, each with its own food menu. Some eat mostly meat, although Humpbacks and sperm whales may occasionally eat fish. There are also other, smaller species, such as the Minke Whale (also known as the Southern Right Whales) who may only eat fish and other forms of prey.
To eat, whales must consume more than just meat. They also need to eat at least some fruits, vegetables and grains, although the quantity is greatly diminished in the colder months. In fact, whales usually prefer to stay close to land and only eat what comes up to their mouth. They have powerful jaws that allow them to crush the foods they want to eat into easy-to-swallow particles. Their bodies are also designed to efficiently remove food from long distances. In fact, they spend most of their waking time eating.
The size of the stomach allows whales to easily digest fatty acids, as well as to store energy for when their food supplies dwindle. This helps whales stay healthy. One reason why whales diets are so peculiar is because it’s difficult to say for sure how much food whales actually eat. As whales swim and feed, they seem to be only interested in food close to them, so even if a whale were to lose a few feet of its length, it would not immediately go hungry.