Why Do Whales Breach? 3 Possible Reasons
If you’ve ever been whale watching, you may have witnessed them breaching. This happens when a whale projects itself out of the water, revealing most or all of its body. Scientists have a variety of theories to explain why this occurs. Although there is yet to be a definitive answer, here are three potential explanations for this behavior.
3 Theories of Why Whales Breach
Whales Breach To Communicate
One popular explanation of why whales breach is to communicate messages. These messages could be anything from a change in swimming direction to a mating call or a warning signal for predators nearby. Humpback whales are likely to use breaching as a form of communicating when the environment has become noisy and their standard singing may not be received underwater. It’s also an opportunity for whales to see what’s going on above the water and assess their surroundings.
Whales Breach To Claim Territory
Some scientists subscribe to the theory that breaching is a way for whales to claim their territory and protect themselves. This can occur when a whale senses an approaching danger, such as other animals or even a ship. By breaching, a whale can assert their dominance over a particular area by intimidating the perceived threat.
Breaching Removes Parasites
Aside from communicating messages and warding off predators, many believe that breaching is simply a way for whales to clean themselves more thoroughly. As whales swim, it’s common for barnacles, lice, and other pesky parasites to attach themselves to their skin and cause itching or irritation. Breaching may help them shake these nuisances off.
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