10 Things You Didn’t Learn About the Southern Right Whale at School

Did you know that the right whale got its name from the fact that it was the right whale to hunt for blubber and whale oil?

For the longest of times, the right whale has been hunted across the globe by whalers because they made an easy target. Their docile nature and the fact that they sluggishly skimmed the surface of the ocean in search of food gave whalers the perfect opportunity to hunt them.

This baleen whale has been hunted so much that it has been declared endangered. For those of you who do not know what a baleen whale is – it’s the one that has no teeth. The humpback and rorqual are categorised as baleen whales too.

Coming back to the right whales, there are three types of right whales: the North Pacific right whale, the Atlantic right whale and the southern right whale – you already know which region each belongs to!

Now let’s get to the interesting part. Here are 10 interesting facts about the southern right whale that you probably didn’t know about:

  • “Eubalaena australis” is the scientific name of the southern right whale. You can see them near the southern coast of Australia on one of the Oz Whale Watching tours.
  • The southern right whale gives birth to its young and nurses it with milk their bodies produce after birthing the offspring. This marine mammal breathes air and is warm blooded.

  • They may be large – about 60 tonnes in weight and 50 feet long – but they’re extremely docile creatures. They hence, make easy prey for whalers and even large sharks!
  • Once fully grown, a southern right whale’s weight can be tantamount to the weight of 8 completely grown African elephants – that’s massive!
  • A single testicle of a right whale can weigh more than 1,000 lbs! It is believed to be the largest testicle in animal history.
  • Southern right whales can live for around 100 years. This makes them one of the cetacean species that lives the longest. The bowhead whale can live up to 200 years making it the cetacean specie with the longest lifespan.
  • Southern right whales have a thick layer of blubber lining their bodies, which keeps them warm. This is why these whales never cross the equator – their bodies cannot handle the extreme heat.
  • These whales have large heads – way too large – about one third of their body’s entire length. No other whale species have heads that big.
  • They’re massive but they like to keep it simple when it comes to their diet. The southern rights usually prey on tiny marine creatures, most of which are less than an inch long. Krill is a favourite for them though.
  • After being declared endangered, these species have become a protected species across the different countries they’re found in. The Australian government takes special steps for whale conservation.

The southern right whale can be seen off the coast of Australia between May and October each year. Next time you’re headed to southern Australia, don’t miss out on the opportunity to see these majestic creatures in all their glory