This afternoon, I am giving myself a challenge. It is to see if I am stronger than a blue whale. So, in order to find out, I am going to the Whales of Iceland Museum. The museum has giant lifelike models of whales. Some of them, were famous, like killer whales or blue whales. My favorite whale is the sperm whale; since after all, I’m super smart and sperm whales are very smart too. Even though you might read that sperm whales have the largest brains, I am the smartest animal.
When you walk in, you don’t see anything at first, just a simple reception desk and the gift shop. But, if you look up, you will see a giant orca! They are pretty big compared to me; but if it was real, I could totally scare it with my muscles.
Orcas are well known to work in teams. They herd their pray and surround them and they’ll even make a giant wave for seals which are on sheets of ice. This catches the seals off guard. Orcas are also very social and often communicate with each other. They travel in large groups called pods. Dolphins travel in pods too. And, you may have even heard of the bottle-nosed dolphin.
But one thing to remember about whales is that they are not fish! So, they breathe air just like you and me. However, I knew that if I was going to show my strength compared to a big whale, I’d have to look for an even bigger whale. I searched and found a humpback whale. Humpback whales are very well-known and are often seen while on whale watching tours. Humpback whales are gentle and are often inquisitive about boats. I read that they’ll even splash their tales on the water as a playful way of saying hello.
Humpbacks generally live in the cold waters of the Arctic and Antarctic but can be found all over the world as they migrate. If you live near the ocean, you might be able to go looking for humpback whales near you!
I noticed a sperm whale nearby; so, I decided to go and take a look. Sperm whales are some of the toothed whales, like orcas. They have the biggest brain of any mammal. But, like humpback whales, are fairly friendly towards boats. I decided that I could show all of the other whales that I was the smartest animal in the world. I challenged the sperm whale to a complex trivia game. Naturally, I won. Or was it just that he never answered? He was probably too scared and would have been ashamed to accept defeat.
But, to show my true strength, I needed to defeat a blue whale. I set off to find something that would tell me about the blue whale, so I could defeat my foe.
Humpback whales and blue whales are baleen whales so they filter food. They basically have a special kind of teeth. So, when they suck in water, all of the krill (a special kind of tiny shrimp), get stuck between their teeth. Then, they spit out the water and eat the krill. It sounds kind of gross to spit out all of the water; but it’s the only way to prevent themselves from getting bloated with all of the water that they suck in.
So, I decided not to show my strength in that way. After all, I’m a bit too sophisticated to spit in public. Instead, I challenged the blue whale to a game of thumb war. I won. But the trick was, whales have flippers which cover their individual fingers. So, he had to forfeit. Some might say that I cheated; but it was just my being clever in considering who my opponent was.
I highly recommend going to Reykjavik’s Whales of Iceland Museum if you end up visiting Iceland. The models were all life-sized; so, you could compare your size to theirs. It’s helpful to see the whales’ size in comparison to each other and it shows what size they really are. There were whale sounds playing in the background and blue lights making it look like you were in the ocean. People of all ages will be amused, as there are interactive areas for younger kids and information about whales. All are welcome.
Until the next post…