The blue whale is the largest mammal in the world and has very few natural predators; in fact, the species’ main predator is generally considered to be humans, particularly in the form of collisions with large ships. From the 1900s through the 1960s, whale hunting accounted for the deaths of an estimated 360,000 blue whales, which caused them to become endangered. As of 2013, the species was still considered endangered, and there were thought to be fewer than 25,000 blue whales. Orcas and sharks have been known to be occasional predators of blue whales, but attacks do not tend to be widespread or as serious of a threat to the species as human activity.
More about blue whales:
- The average blue whale is estimated to live 80 to 90 years, making it one of the longest-living creatures on Earth.
- Blue whales are able to communicate with one another over distances of up to 1,000 miles (1,609 km).
- A baby blue whale spends about a year in its mother’s womb and can weigh as much as 3 tons (2.7 metric tons) at birth and be 25 feet (8 m) long.