With an average weight of 110 tons (the same as around 22 African elephants), the blue whale is currently believed to be the heaviest animal that has ever existed on Earth. The blue whale has a pleated throat, allowing its mouth to expand and hold up to 90 tons of water.
However, blue whales only consume tiny sea creatures, such as shrimp-like krill, which they filter from seawater through bristles called baleen.
While it is possible that a blue whale could accidentally suck a human into its mouth, this has never been recorded. If it did happen, the whale would not be able to swallow an adult human as the passage through which food passes to its stomach averages only one foot (about a third of a meter) in diameter.
More about blue whales:
- While the maximum recorded weight for a blue whale is currently about 190 tons, this specimen was only 30 meters (close to 100 feet) long. Longer whales have been seen but have not been officially weighed.
- At birth, a blue whale weighs as much as a fully grown hippopotamus. While still drinking its mother's milk, it can gain almost 5 kilos (about 10 pounds) per hour.
- The current worldwide population of blue whales is unknown, but was estimated in 2002 to be between 5000 and 12,000 animals, and the species is classified as endangered.