Minke Whale

Though the smallest of the fin whales, these migrating mammals can let out a cry as loud as a plane taking off

Antarctic Peninsula

Name: (Common) Minke Whale a.k.a. Lesser Rorqual, Northern Minke Whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata).
Antarctic Minke Whale a.k.a. Southern Minke Whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis)

Length: 6.5 – 7.5 metres

Weight: 10 tons

Location: Worldwide from sub-Arctic waters in north to sub-Antarctic waters in the south

Conservation status: Least Concern

Diet: Small fish, krill

Appearance: Black or dark grey, lighter on belly. Northern variety has white bands on flippers

How do Minke Whales forage?

Like other examples of baleen whales, Minke Whales while swim through schools of fish or areas rich in krill and gulp in water, then push the water back out through their baleen in order to trap the fish and krill inside. Their dives usually last in the range of up to 20 minutes. In order to gather fish Minke Whales will swim in circles around a school, decreasing the diameter of the circle until they are close enough to lunge into the balled up school of fish.

Are Minke Whales social?

Minke Whales are fairly solitary, usually found alone. When Minkes are seen near other Minkes they do not display cooperative hunting habits like some other forms of whales.

How fast can Minke Whales swim?

The Minke’s max speed is around 40 km per hour. Their normal cruising speed can be anywhere from 5 km per hour to 25 km per hour.

What are Minke Whale mating rituals like?

Both male and female Minke Whales come to sexual maturity around 6 years of age. The mating season depends on the sub-category of the Minke, related to where in the world they’re located. The pregnancy lasts 10 months when a single calf is born, with a length of around 2.5 metres and weighs about 450 kg. When the calves are weaned about 6 months later they’ll have grown to almost double that length.

How long do Minke Whales live?

Minke Whales live around 40 years on average, though examples have been found living up to 60 years.

How many Minke Whales are there today?

Worldwide estimates for Minkes place their population at approximately 800,000, the highest number for baleen whales.

Do Minke Whales have any predators?

The only natural predators for Minkes are Killer Whales packs which hunt the solo Minkes in chases that can last an hour.

6 Magnificent Minke Whale Facts

  • Minke Whales are the smallest form of baleen whale.
  • Minke Whales’ vocalizations can be as loud as jet planes taking off (up to 152 decibels).
  • Minke Whales have earned the name “Stinky Minkes” because of the less-than-appealing smell of their spouting.
  • Minkes migrate to warmer waters during the colder winter months. 
  • The pleats on a Minke Whale’s (and similar whales’) throats allows the throats to expand to take in large amounts of water when they’re feeding
  • Minke Whales are often seen feeding in areas teeming with sea birds, and scientists believe they may be using the location of the birds as an indication of where to find food.

Love this article? Share your appreciation:

Related cruises

Falkland Islands - South Georgia - Antarctic Peninsula
Up to 3600 USD discount

Falkland Islands - South Georgia - Antarctic Peninsula

Meet at least six penguin species

PLA23-17. This Falkland Islands, South Georgia, and Antarctic Peninsula cruise is an animal-lover’s dream come true. The expedition explores one of the last untamed areas on Earth – a land of ruggedly beautiful landscapes and amazingly varied wildlife.

Cruise date:

29 Nov - 18 Dec, 2017

Price:

15750 USD 12150 USD 3600 USD discount

Antarctic Peninsula with South Shetland Islands
Up to 1750 USD discount

Antarctic Peninsula with South Shetland Islands

Classic Antarctica including Deception Island

OTL24-17. This 11-day Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands cruise delivers you into a landscape of dark rugged rock, pure white snow, and a fantastic variety of wildlife. Come say hello to whales, seals, and thousands of penguins.

Cruise date:

6 Dec - 16 Dec, 2017

Price:

8800 USD 7050 USD 1750 USD discount

Antarctic Peninsula - Basecamp Ortelius
Up to 1025 USD discount

Antarctic Peninsula - Basecamp Ortelius

The best activity voyage in Antarctica

OTL23A-17. The 12-day Antarctic Peninsula Basecamp Ortelius cruise offers you a myriad of ways to explore and enjoy the Antarctic Region. This expedition allows you to hike, snowshoe, kayak, go mountaineering, and even camp out under the Southern Polar skies.

Cruise date:

25 Nov - 6 Dec, 2017

Price:

10250 USD 9225 USD 1025 USD discount

Falkland Islands - South Georgia - Antarctic Peninsula

Meet at least six penguin species!

PLA22-17. A 20-day cruise to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia & the Antarctic Peninsula. Visit some of the most beautiful arrays of wildlife on Earth. This journey will introduce you to at least 6 species of penguin and a whole lot of Antarctic fur seals!

Cruise date:

9 Nov - 29 Nov, 2017

Price:

15350 USD

Falkland Islands - South Georgia - Antarctic Peninsula

Meet at least six penguin species

OTL25-18. This Falkland Islands, South Georgia, and Antarctic Peninsula cruise is an animal-lover’s dream come true. The expedition explores one of the last untamed areas on Earth – a land of ruggedly beautiful landscapes and amazingly varied wildlife.

Cruise date:

16 Dec, 2017 - 3 Jan, 2018

Price:

13200 USD