Zoology & Botany

whale

Prepare a picture of/book about/a toy orca in advance, as well as a sample of skin

Say: Look at this animal. (Show a picture of an orca.) This is a marine mammal.

Remember, to be classified as a mammal, an animal should have hair or fur, mammary glands (mammal mothers nurse their young with milk), lungs and need air to breathe. Marine mammals are warm blooded, have adapted to living all or part of their life in the ocean. To keep warm in the ocean, most of them depend on a thick layer of blubber (or fat).

(Point to the whale) Say: Whales belong to the order cetacea, which includes whales, dolphins and porpoises. Whales are divided into two suborders: baleen and toothed whales. Their bodies resemble the streamlined form of a fish, while the forelimbs or flippers are paddle-shaped. The skin of whales is usually black, gray, black, tan and white, or all white. Their skin texture is smooth, but like other mammals, whales have hair at some point in their development. The tail fins, or flukes, enable whales to propel themselves through the water. Most species of whale have a fin on their backs known as a dorsal fin.  Whales store energy in an underskin layer of fat, or blubber. The ability to store "fuel" in the form of blubber helps whales survive during long periods of starvation. Beneath the skin lies a layer of fat called blubber. Whales breathe through blowholes, located on the top of the head so the animal can remain submerged. Baleen whales have two blowholes, while toothed whales have one.

Go back to the picture of the whale. Say: let’s find whale’s body parts. This is its head, eyes, blowhole, mouth, body, fin, flippers: 1,2; this is its tail. Do You Know, baby? The Blue Whale is the largest known mammal that has ever lived, and the largest living animal.

 Whales are living things and need energy to survive.

Whales are carnivores; they eat everything that comes up from crabs and larvae to plankton and small fish. One of the most useful abilities whales use when hunting for food is known as echolocation. Echolocation works by emitting a series of clicking and busing noises and then listening to the echos that bounce off of objects in the area. So, whales are able to determine whether the object is prey, a predator or an inanimate object. Female whales carry their young between 10 and 17 months depending on the species. After giving birth, the calves nurse from their mothers up to 2 years, only being weaned once they can find food for themselves. Even after it has been weaned, a calf usually stays with its mother for another year or two.

Whales are found in open seas throughout the world and occasionally in coastal waters. Certain species migrate, while others remain year-round in the same habitats. We need to take care of Whales and treat them with respect because they are living things just like us, people.

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