Whales are the largest living creatures on earth. They are huge, and there is hardly any animal on land and sea that can compete with the whales. Whales are the undisputed king of the sea but do you know they are not classified as fish. Yes, whales are not fish. Let’s find out why whales are not grouped in fishes.

largest mammal on earth
©Pexels

Whales are one of a kind species. They are considered highly intelligent creatures. Whales are mostly recognized because of their size and body weight, as they are the largest living creatures on planet earth. Whales can attain a maximum size of 30 meters or approximately 100 feet and a weight of 173 tonnes or a massive 1,73,000 Kilograms.

The numbers can put an average-sized boat to shame. But there are a few other things that make whales different from the other animals. The most important one, contrary to the popular misconception, might be that the whales are not fishes. There are many reasons for this classification. Let’s see why whales are not grouped in fishes.

There are some other differences between fish and whales that make whales being classified as mammals and the reason Why whales are not grouped in fishes.

1. Whales are warm-blooded animals, while fish are cold-blooded.

2. Whales produce young life, while fish lay eggs.

3. Whales have mammary glands to feed their young, while fish have no mammary glands.

4. Whales suckle their young, fish don’t.

5. Whales have four chambers in their hearts, while fish have two.

6. Whales breathe through the lungs, while fish breathe through gills.

7. Whales have sweat glands and hair on their skin.

8. Whales have a horizontal tail that folds up and down. Fish have vertical tails that move from side to side.

Because of these differences, whales are not considered to be fish species. Instead, they are grouped among mammals that live in the water.

Whales Have Lungs – Why Are Whales Not Grouped In Fishes

Humpback Whale
©Pixabay

Whales can swim underwater, but they have to hold their breath. They have lungs like we do and can take oxygen from the air, but not from liquids. So if they stay underwater for too long, they drown. The whale’s nostril is at the top of their head, which is convenient because they don’t have to move their head a lot when they come to the surface of the water. When they appear, the nostril is automatically at the highest point.

Fish don’t have lungs; they have gills. The fish draws the necessary oxygen from the water flowing past. Fish can, therefore, breathe underwater.

Whales Do Not Lay Eggs

Young whales do not eat anything solid at first but drink milk because whales are mammals. The adult animals give birth to live young. Depending on the type of whale, the gestation period can take up to 11 months. A young whale can swim immediately and is led to the surface of the water by its mother or some other species immediately after birth for the first breath. Therefore, whales are assigned to a separate class called mammals.

Whales Are Warm-Blooded 

Whales are warm-blooded like humans and other land creatures, unlike cold-blooded fishes. It means that whales maintain their body temperature by producing heat on their own. Fishes are cold-blooded animals, which means their body temperature changes according to the temperature of their surroundings.

Whales Have Four Chambers in Their Hearts

Just like other mammals, whales possess a four-chambered heart. It is because all mammals, including whales, are warm-blooded animals and have high energy requirements to maintain body temperature. A four-chambered heart prevents the mixing of oxygenated and deoxygenated blood in the body.

Similarities Between Whales and Fish

Though fish and whales are extremely different, there are many similarities between whales and fish.

1. The fish and the whale share the same Habitat as whales and fish live in the water. Whales are exclusively marine mammals.

2. Whales and fish are vertebrates.

3. Whales and fish have fins and tails.

4. Whales and fish have scaly skin.

5. Both have similar body shapes.

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Both whales and fish are aquatic animals with similar body shapes and behaviours. But due to various key factors, whales are not considered fish. Whales have mammary glands, give birth to young ones, and are warm-blooded animals. That is the reason Why Are Whales Not Grouped In Fishes but are classified among mammals.

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