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Minke Whale

Minke Whale (Balaenoptera Acutorostrata)Minke Whale (Balaenoptera Acutorostrata)Minke Whale (Balaenoptera Acutorostrata)
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Minke Whale Facts

Five groups that classify all living things
A group of animals within the animal kingdom
A group of animals within a pylum
A group of animals within a class
A group of animals within an order
A group of animals within a family
Scientific Name:
The name of the animal in science
Balaenoptera Acutorostrata
The animal group that the species belongs to
What kind of foods the animal eats
How long (L) or tall (H) the animal is
6.9-10.7m (22.6-35ft)
The measurement of how heavy the animal is
4,536-12,700kg (5-14tons)
Top Speed:
The fastest recorded speed of the animal
21km/h (13mph)
How long the animal lives for
30-50 years
Whether the animal is solitary or sociable
Conservation Status:
The likelihood of the animal becoming extinct
The colour of the animal's coat or markings
Black, Brown, Grey, White
Skin Type:
The protective layer of the animal
Favourite Food:
The preferred food of this animal
The specific area where the animal lives
Ocean surface in temperate waters
Average Litter Size:
The average number of babies born at once
Main Prey:
The food that the animal gains energy from
Krill, Fish, Plankton
Other animals that hunt and eat the animal
Human, Sharks, Killer Whales
Special Features:
Characteristics unique to this animal
Pointed head and white band on flippers

Minke Whale Location

Map of Minke Whale Locations

Minke Whale

There are two recognised subspecies of minke whale, the common minke whale and the larger Antarctic minke whale, both however are classified as baleen whales meaning that minke whales filter food from the water rather than biting it.

The common minke whale (dwarf minke whale) is generally found in the North Atlantic Ocean and also parts of the North Pacific Ocean. The common minke whale (dwarf minke whale) is the smaller of the two minke whale subspecies with adult common minke whales reaching about 5 m in length.

The Antarctic minke whale is found inhabiting the frozen Antarctic waters but the Antarctic minke has also been known to venture into the Southern Atlantic Ocean and occasionally the Southern Pacific Ocean. The Antarctic minke whale is the larger of the two minke whale subspecies, and at around double the size of the common minke whale, some adult Antarctic minke whales grow to more than 10 meters in length!

Despite the clear division of the two minke whale species territories, it is not uncommon for the common minke whale to be found in the waters of the southern hemisphere although the Antarctic minke whale is rarely found too far north. The reason behind this is thought to be because the common minke whale can survive in more temperate waters, where the Antarctic minke whale prefers to inhabit the more frozen ones.

The minke whale has a carnivorous diet, as the minke whales filters to water in the oceans to extract nutrients from it. Amongst the most common minke whale meals are krill and plankton, but minke whales will often eat small fish and crabs. As the minke whale is a type of baleen whale, the minke whale does not have teeth as such. The tiny bristle-like teeth in the mouth of the minke whale means that the minke whale cannot really bite down on food, so the minke whale uses its teeth to filter food particles out of the water.

Minke whales tend to breed in the late winter to early spring, with minke whale breeding occurring near the surface of warmer waters. The gestation period is about 10 months and the calf is born near the surface of warm, shallow waters. The newborn minke whale calf is able to swim to the surface of the water within 10 seconds for its first breath with a little help from its mother who uses her flippers to guide the minke whale calf to the surface. Minke whales calves are usually able to swim within their first half an hour of life.

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First Published: 14th December 2008, Last Updated: 8th November 2019

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4. Dorling Kindersley (2006) Dorling Kindersley Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 14 Dec 2008]
5. Richard Mackay, University of California Press (2009) The Atlas Of Endangered Species [Accessed at: 01 Jan 2009]
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