the big blue

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 May, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 May, 2009, 12:00am

We have fantastic prizes to give away in our quizzes. The exciting exhibition runs from this Saturday to May 31

biggest ever

The path of these gentle giants

Blue whales are the biggest animals ever to live. They are also the loudest, and may be able to communicate with other blue whales 1,600km away.

But finding out about these magnificent creatures is not easy. They can dive under water for long periods, swim fast and cover great distances.

Now, scientists have been able to film the secret life of these animals by fitting them with cameras. They were able to witness three kinds of behaviour never seen before - courting, calving and winter feeding.

For their new special, the National Geographic scientists had to tag 15 blue whales and follow them by satellite technology to an area stretching over 1,000km known as the Costa Rica Dome in the Pacific Ocean.

See if you can find the area on a world map.

vocab time

Can you complete the crossword?


3 an ocean

5 what a mother whale feeds a baby

6 whale fat

8 the blue whale's sub-order

10 parts of the whale's tail

11 where a whale breathes

12 the spear used to hunt whales

13 the whales belong to this order

15 a measure of loudness

16 fin on the back

17 blue whale's food


1 a nation that hunts whales

2 an animal that eats other animals

4 whale name meaning 'furrow whale'

6 the means by which blue whales feed

7 the biggest animal ever to have lived

9 killer whales have these but blue whales do not

10 a whale's 'arms'

11 jumping out of the water

13 a baby whale

14 a group of whales


Spying on animals

Critter cams let us into the secret world of animals. They are attached to animals and record their behaviour when they are out of the sight of humans so we can see how they really live.

You could win this fantastic National Geographic tote bag if you answer the following question correctly. E-mail your answer to with 'Critter' in the header. Don't forget to include your full name, school and phone number.

Question: What animal inspired the critter cam?

body parts

Mark these parts on the whale drawing

1 Flukes

2 Flippers

3 Throat grooves

4 Blow hole

essay time

Your turn to write

Write a one-page essay explaining how the blue whale has adapted to eating krill. Send your essays to with 'Scienceblue' in the header by June 1. A selection of the best essays will be printed in Young Post. The winner will receive a year's subscription to National Geographic.

Use this guide to help you create your masterpiece.

Write your intro here:

Fact 1 __________________________________________________

Fact 2 __________________________________________________

Fact 3 __________________________________________________




fact hunter

Find the answers at Big Blue

Search the exhibition and find the answers to the following.

1 How long can blue whales

stay underwater?

a. one day

b. 10-20 minutes

c. 40-60 minutes

d. four hours

2 What is the top speed a blue whale can reach?

a. 32km/h

b. 52km/h

c. 10km/h

d. 98km/h

3 True or false?

a. A blue whale's blood vessels are so big that a human could crawl through them.

b. A blue whale's heart is as big as jumbo jet.

c. Blue whales are baleen whales.

d. Blue whales can theoretically hold 100 people in their mouths.

4 If blue whales ate hamburgers, how many could they eat in one day?

a. 100

b. 4,600

c. 10,000

d. 64,000

5 When a whale surfaces, it breathes out, sending a spray of water into the air. How far can blue whales spray?

a. two metres

b. two storeys

c. 10 storeys

d. they can hit aeroplanes

6 What animals are/were bigger than a blue whale?

a. African elephant

b. Gigantosaurus

c. humpback whale

d. none

7 Whales are ...

a. fish.

b. mammals.

c. reptiles.

d. amphibians.

8 Whales are cetaceans. What are the characteristics of cetaceans?

a. mammals

b. spend their whole lives in water

c. lay eggs

d. almost hairless

9 Adult blue whales have no predators, but which animal attacks baby blue whales?

a. other blue whales

b. otters

c. killer whales

d. barracuda

10 What colour are blue whales underwater?

a. blue

b. grey

c. yellow

d. white

win win win!

You could win this magnificent National Geographic Atlas of the World. Describe the threats facing blue whales in 50 words or less and e-mail your entries to with 'Bluegreen' in the header. Don't forget to include your full name and phone number


Body parts: 1. on the tail, 2. either side of the body, 3. under the jaw, 4. on top of the head

Fact hunter: 1. b, 2. a, 3. a. T, b. F, c. T, d. T, 4. d, 5. b, 6. d, 7. b, 8. a, b, d, 9. c, 10. a

Vocab time:

Across: 3. Indian, 5. milk, 6. blubber, 8. Mysceti, 10. flukes, 11. blow hole, 12. harpoon, 13. Cetacea 15. decibel, 16. dorsal, 17. krill

Down: 1. Japan, 2. carnivore, 4. rorqual, 6. baleen, 7. blue whale, 9. teeth, 10. flippers, 11. breaching, 13. calf, 14. pod