Minke Whale

Image by Tom O’Brien


The smallest of the baleen category is the Minke Whale. They aren’t likely to be more than 30 feet long or to weigh more than 7 tons. They feature two blowholes and are black and white in color. Other characteristics include two flippers that are very long, a dorsal fin that is small, and ridges around the back close to the tail.


You won’t find the Minke Whale to be very social. Many of them tend to live alone. Others have a partner or a group of three. It is very rare — except during migration — that you will see more than that together. We know a great deal about them due to their high global population. They tend to attract very large crowds of watchers. In some locations there are cruise ships that take people out to see them.

The Minke Whales in these areas have become very familiar with the ships. They will circle close around the ships which gives the passengers on board a chance to witness these amazing creatures up close in their natural environment. They tend to put on quite a performance with their acrobatics. They are also believed to be very curious so they may even be watching the people in return.

Balaenoptera acutorostrata

Balaenoptera acutorostrata (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These whales are hunted by countries like Japan and South Korea. Whale meat is full of mercury and other toxic matter but, under the lie of scientific research, whalers attempt to harvest many of these whales in the Southern Marine Sanctuary. The organization Sea Shepherd Conservation Society intervenes yearly to try to stop this illegal action.