This fatty layer comprises 27 percent of the massive blue whale's total body weight. How do whales defend themselves against these predators? One thing we know: it’s definitely fun to watch. It doesn’t need to be as dramatic as throwing themselves on a grenade, but even placing themselves at a small disadvantage could jeopardise their chances of surviving and reproducing. As they do, the killer whales turn back and descend on the calf once more. The scientists said the sperm whales attempted to beat back their attackers by arranging in a circular formation, with their heads pointed inward, and using their tail fins to swipe at the orcas. The calf’s mother fought as best she could, but when the killer whales’ skilled attack was too much for her, the humpbacks stepped in. Perhaps most surprising, humpback whales also have adult "escorts" that try to protect calves that are not their own, joining the mother in defending the … The Humpback whale is soon becoming known for being the defender of the sea. Humpbacks often propel themselves above the water and then splash back down, according to National Geographic. These behaviors may be used to communicate with one another. For centuries, humpback whales were hunted to the brink of extinction. And if they don’t reproduce, then neither do the genes that encouraged the individual to be altruistic. Toothed whales, which include dolphins, porpoises, and sperm whales… Some do. The humpbacks position themselves close to the calf, between it and the killer whales, potentially putting themselves in harm’s way. Humpbacks can grow to 60 feet (18 meters) long, and they can weigh a whopping 40 tons (about half the size of … Like almost every other animal, whales have a "fight or flight" response to being attacked. When whales are stranded on a beach, they keep calling to one another. Whales and orcas move through life alongside family and friends, as humans do. Relevance. In response, the humpbacks swing around and return to the calf’s defence. In a related story, Blaise Jones explained that there are many other predators in the water that feed on sharks: goliath grouper, sperm whales, killer whales, and even sea lions and seals. Within 45 minutes, the calf was dead, and the mother left the scene soon after. The whale's song is haunting and complex. Humpback whales are not the biggest whales — that's the blue whale. Defense Mechanisms. Whales are some of the biggest animals in the sea, but their massive size doesn't exclude them from predation. If this tendency to drive away killer whales whenever they are attacking has helped humpbacks to protect their own calves, then the genes that promote it could be maintained in the population, even if other species benefit at times. I know this is going to be an obvious answer, but I want to know how They defend themselves. Some do. A humpback whale or a sperm whale can injure or frighten off a predator with a violent thump of its tail. They were ultimately unsuccessful. 1 decade ago. Humpback whale, a baleen whale known for its elaborate courtship songs and displays. It sounds like an eerie series of chirps, squeaks, whistles and grunts. They don't have any natural predators but their calves are vulnerable to killer whales. Some scientists think that they may do this to splash off parasites, but they may just do it because it's fun.They also slap the water with their tails or flippers, according to the NOAA. This is because the meerkat is closely related to the other members of its group, so it shares many genes with them. The humpbacks position themselves close to the calf, between it and the killer whales, potentially putting themselves in harm’s way. But then more whales appear. National Marine Mammal Laboratory: Gray Whales, New York Times: Scientists Report Rare Attack by Killer Whales on Sperm Whales, Scientific Reports: Responses of Male Sperm Whales (Physeter macrocephalus) to Killer Whale Sounds: Implications for Anti-Predator Strategies, University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse: Blue Whale Adaptation, The Featured Creature: 6 of the Most Disguting Animal Defenses in Nature. A humpback whale or a sperm whale can injure or frighten off a predator with a violent thump of its tail. And despite thick swarms of krill spotted nearby—a favorite … Barnacles like to attach themselves to slow moving whales. The polar bear can attack whales, but humpback whales would be much too large for a single polar bear. Surprisingly, most of these have been predation attempts on other species, such as seals, other whales or even fish. The larger dolphins can also frighten, injure or even kill a shark with a violent head butt. How do whales defend themselves against these predators? 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