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Blue whales: A heart the size of a VW Beetle


When it comes to size, the blue whale puts many statistics into perspective. The sea giant, which is up to 27 meters long and weighs 150 tons, is one of the mightiest mammals that has ever populated the earth. And the krill and plankton-eating giants also have a big heart - the size of a VW Beetle. Image: Shutterstock / TsuneoMP

Calm blood blue

Imagine a panicked blue whale. Not so long ago, the ocean's grazing animals had at least every reason to do so: for example, when the peaceful marine mammals had a trawler with a harpoon "on their fins". But even with extreme physical exertion, the heart of the blue whale only beats 18 to 20 times in a minute. No wonder, after all, it's the size of a small car. Humans, on the other hand, would get a good 100 beats per minute - perhaps if they made their way to the giant's heart. There it would be possible to swim through the veins of the whale.

By the way: It wasn't until 1967 that the International Whaling Commission (IWC) launched a ban on hunting this species. Since then, stocks in the oceans have recovered and in some cases are even growing again.

Blue whales: When someone goes on a trip

Blue whales are passionate travelers. And preferably in large groups. This is less related to her big heart, but to her natural drive to survive. Their favorite food is krill and plankton, which they filter out of the water with the help of their huge beards. They consume between four and eight tons of it - every day. They prefer to do this in the polar regions, in order to take the path towards the equator after several months of strengthening. The animals then hardly eat any more, rather they mate in subtropical areas and give birth to their calves there. Then it's time to return to the cold realms. And the journey is not only a spectacle for the blue whales, but also for observers: When they "exhale", the giants push a nine-meter high fountain into the sky. If one were to branch off the air expelled here, one could fill an incredible 2,000 balloons with air.

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