Marine Mammals


Fin whale
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The fin whale (scient. Balaenoptera physalus), finback whale, razorback, or common rorqual is the second largest mammal in the world, after the gigantic Blue whale. In Greece there are fin whales, some of which have been observed occasionally in the deep waters of south Crete. The number of fin whales in the Greek waters has not been studied, but it is estimated at 2000 individuals throughout the Mediterranean.

The fin whale has a length of about 24 meters and weights up to 60 tons. Its shape is hydrodynamic with a pointy head and a dorsal fin, that looks like a sickle and reaches 60 cm in height (it takes its name after this).

When the whale surfaces, the dorsal fin is visible soon after the spout. The spout is vertical and narrow and can reach heights of 6 metres. It feeds on krill and small fish (usually anchovies or sardines), which are trapped in its whalebones. It lives for many years and can reach the age of 90 -100 years.

It is the fastest species of baleen whales, reaching speeds of 20 knots. It also dives to depths reaching 400 meters and can stay under water for 10 to 15 minutes.

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