Since a whale lives in the water and has a fish-shaped body, why isn’t it considered a fish? The fact is that the whale is a water mammal, and is descended from ancestors that lived on land. During the thousands and thousands of years they have been living in the water, whales have grown to resemble fish in their shape and other outside features, but they are built and they Eve like land animals.
A whale’s flippers, for instance, have the bouts of a five-fingered hand. Some whales even have the bones of hind legs in their Besh! The most important difference between whales and fish, of course, is that the baby whale is fed on its mother’s milk like other little mammals. It is not hatched from an egg but is born alive. And for some time after it is born, it stays close to its mother, who takes very good care of it.
Since all mammals have warm blood, and the whale has no fur coat to keep itself warm in the icy water, it has blubber instead. This is a layer of tissue under the skin filled with oil that retains heat and is as good as a fur coat!
Whales breathe differently from fish. Instead of gills, they have lungs and they take in air through two nostrils or “blow holes” on the top of their heads. When they go underwater, these nostrils are closed by little valves, so no water can get in. Every five to ten minutes, a whale rises to the top of the water to breathe. First, it blows out the used air from its lungs with a loud noise. This makes the “spout” that we often see in the pictures of whales. Then it takes in the fresh air and dives down into the sea to swim about.
How Do Whales Die?
Natural Causes. Cetaceans can simply die from old age. Their lifespan ranges from a few decades for harbor porpoises to over 200 years in the case of bowhead whales. They can also die from predation from killer whales, polar bears, or from sharks.