Fin Whales of Costa Rica
Fin whales are the second largest animal on the planet next to blue whales. They often reach lengths of eighteen to twenty-four meters in length and weigh as much as 70 tonnes.
Fin Whales are found in every ocean of the world north to south and east to west. They inhabit the photic and aphotic zones of the water, and can make dives as deep as nearly 500 meters into the mesopelagic zone. In seeking them out in Costa Rica, look to Tortuguero National Park, Barra del Colorado Wildlife Refuge and Gandoca-Manzanilla National Wildlife Refuge.
Mating & Reproduction
Like many other species of sea mammals, females produce young every two to three years. Female reach sexual maturity between the ages of 6 to 12 years old, but Fin Whales do not reach full maturity until they are in their late 20s to early 30s. A female may produce up to as many as six calves, but one to three is probably regular. Newborns wean after around 7 months, but they will stay with their mother for much longer.
Fin Whales breed on their long migration routes from northern and southern feeding grounds to the warmer waters around the equator. The gestation period is from eleven months to a year.
Fin Whales are carnivorous, and in their feeding grounds in the North and South Seas they often forage for lamp fish, squid, jellyfish, herring, invertebrates, krill and crustaceans. They communicate by making low frequency moans that carry through the water to denote location among other things. When diving for fish or other seafood, Fin Whales go down as far 470 meters for periods between 6 to 17 minutes. They breech in order to breathe between dives, and may do so several times while feeding. They breech every minute or two when resting or travelling.
Fin Whales are sometimes preyed upon by Killer Whales, but this doesn’t happen often. They chase the large fin whales in groups, and separate an individual from his pod. This has been witnessed around handful of times in different oceans throughout the world, and Fin Whales do not appear to try to fight back despite being much larger.
Where to see it in Costa Rica: Tortuguero National Park, Cahuita National Park, Barra del Colorado Wildlife Refuge, Gandoca-Manzanilla National Wildlife Refuge
Diet: lamp fish, squid, jellyfish, herring, invertebrates, krill, crustaceans
Habitat: photic and aphotic zones of the ocean
Size: length=18-24m weight=4,000 lbs-69.5 tonnes
Species: Balaenoptera physalus