When a whale pokes its head and upper body above the water for a while to look around it, this is called spyhopping. It may be to...Read More >>When a whale pokes its head and upper body above the water for a while to look around it, this is called spyhopping. It may be to search for prey—or simply out of curiosity.Whales, dolphins and porpoises make up a group of mammals called cetaceans. These animals live in the waters of the oceans all the time. They have no hair or fur on their bodies. Instead of four legs, they have a tail, called a fluke, and two flippers. Under their skins they have a thick layer of fat called blubber to keep them warm in cold waters. As air-breathing mammals, whales have to come to the surface of the water to breathe air. They breathe through the holes on top of their heads called blowholes. They have excellent hearing, but a poor sense of smell.
Stranding or beaching is when a whale, or groups of whales, are washed ashore while still alive and healthy. Only some kinds do this and they are all toothed whales. No one knows why this happens. It may be that changes in the Earth's magnetic field confuse the whales' sense of direction.
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