Being the largest creature that weighs as much as 24 elephants must have the largest breasts and nipples right? Well, not really. Since whales are aquatic animals and are often in the water, (despite they are on the surface of the water most times) very few people have seen their body. Most people have neither seen whales from near nor they know much about them.
With little to no knowledge, it’s pretty much unclear whether do whales have boobs or nipples or have both of them, where it is placed, how many nipples do they have and how do whales breastfeed their calves (baby whales) and how do give birth to their offsprings. There are lots of questions for it, here we will cover most of them.
The Simple Answer…
Despite whales are aquatic marine animals, they are not fish but mammals, just like us. Whales do not have breasts but inward nipples that are set into mammary slits and ends with the anus. The nipples are inverted and are located under the whales. The baby does a quick swim under her mother to the nipple and stimulates the nipples and her mother turns out her nipples. The baby whale wraps her tongue and mouth to it then she emits the milk into the baby’s mouth.
When it’s done, the baby will be back on the surface of the water to take some breath and then repeats the process until the calf is completely fed. And that’s how whales breastfeed their calves. A whale can only have one baby at a time which consumes around 190 liters of whale milk every day.
Do All The Whales Have Nipples?
Whales are a larger form of dolphins that there are 90 species of whales, dolphins and porpoises. However, there are only two types of whales toothed and baleen that are divided into 40 species of whales. Like by its name, toothed whales are equipped with teeth that eats aquatic creatures, not everything like raccoons. The teeth whales include all the whales that have teeth which includes sperm whales, beaked whales.
The other type of whales is baleen whales. Baleen whales are equipped with baleen and are larger than teeth whales in size and it includes blue whales (The largest species of whales and the largest animal on earth). There are some minor differences between each species but overall in general, they don’t have huge differences.
Whales are mammals and do everything what mammals do. They produce babies and nurse them like us means breastfeed, which means they have nipples. Adapting in water have changed their nipples from external to internal. This means whales have inverted nipples inside them which are on their back in her slit prior to the anus. It isn’t near to other animal’s nipples like raccoons breastfeed their babies neither in size nor in position and also her way of breastfeeding is different. Whales have a unique way of breastfeeding.
While whales are always on the surface of the water to take breathe, the baby moves underneath her mother on the slits and stimulates her. When her mother noticed, she turns out her nipple and the baby cover it with her mouth. The mother then spews out her milk in his mouth. This process is sealed with the baby’s mouth so it doesn’t leak a drop of milk and that’s why whale’s milk doesn’t drop. All of the whales use this method to breastfeed their offsprings and this means, all of the whale species have nipples.
That ends up with all of the whale species have nipples, produce milk, and nurse their young.
How Many Nipples Whales Have?
Just like humans, whales have two nipples. And being the largest animal, they also have the largest glands. That is 5 feet long and weighs around 115 kg equivalent to 250 pounds. That means it is also the largest milk production mammal and holds a quarter of a ton of milk and so the baby whale also consumes the most milk a mammal could which is equivalent to a small baby elephant. Whales milk is super powerful and is nutritious than most animals and even humans. With this powerful milk, the calf grows up incredibly fast.
Blue whales nipples are protected by layers of skins and seem shiner in the water.
How Whales BreastFeed Their Baby (Calves) In The Water?
Just like dolphins, whales are mammals and do need to breathe oxygen. It’s one of the reasons whales and dolphins jump out of the water. But whale’s nipples are under her body, how do they breastfeed their calves, is it like otters lying with their back on the water? And how do baby whales drink milk without drinking water and how the milk doesn’t leak in the water? Here’s how they do it.
Whales are nowhere like fishes, instead, they are warm-blooded animals that give birth and nurse their babies. Unlike any other mammal, whales have nipples under their body but inverted without external appearance or shape and produce milk, breastfeed and nurse her offsprings. However, the way whales nurse babies is the same as dolphins but different from other mammals. Their babies swim under her mother to the whale’s nipple, holding his breath and stimulates her mother’s nipple, wraps with her tongue covering it completely and her mother turns out her whale’s nipples and squirts her milk right into baby’s mouth and soon after a few drinks, the baby whale gets back to the surface of the water to breathe air and repeats the action until she isn’t greedy. A baby whale drinks around 190 liters of milk a day which is equivalent to a baby elephant.
The mother only emits milk after her baby has attached herself to her nipples and stimulated her. That’s how whales breastfeed her offsprings instead of drinking water.
Why Whales Have Two Nipples?
Well, there’s no short answer to it but let’s see it this way. While most animals have nipples but not breasts, however, they have twice the amount of nipples they need to feed its offspring like cows often give birth to twins and so they have 4 nipples. Dogs give births to 4 – 5 while they have 8 – 10 nipples depending on their age. Humans typically have 1 baby and so it happens to have more than one.
The same rule applies to whale and since whale has often 1 litter at a time so a whale has two nipples.
How Do Whales Nipple Look Like?
If you’re thinking of how whale’s nipple looks like and why nobody has come across it, here’s why.
Whale’s nipples are inverted into mammary slits and are under their body. It has no appearance, shape, or external form normally and also it hasn’t been really seen nor there’s a picture, shape, or design of how it looks it when it’s out. Because it only turns out her glands when her baby has attached himself to it and that’s when she emits milk without leaking a drop, so how can a person have an idea of or take pictures. There’s no clue to it.
Do Whales Have Breasts?
Not all mammals have breasts and some even have no nipples but all of them have mammary glands. Some mammals give birth and feed their babies even with no breasts or even nipples.
With different mammals out there, they have different breasts and different nipples and terrestrial animals and marine mammals have so different structures like a dog, and breasts and nipples are different on their body. Their lactation period also differs. However, all marine animals are exempted from breasts but do have nipples that remain inside their body. In most of them, their mammary glands sits in layers of skins that are mammary slits.
As of whales since they are in water and without lips, the baby takes dips to her mother’s mammary slits and fits his mouth and her mother pushes the mammary glands to send out milk to the calf’s mouth.
Whales have two nipples but no breasts. Similar to sea lions and seals, whales have inward nipples that aren’t available except stimulated by the baby. That opens and turns out when its needed and when the baby has entirely covered up with her mouth and locked tongue to it. Importantly, it protects from leaks and from cold and waste. From a biological perspective, it also avoids germs and protects from bacterias.
Whales do have nipples on the same place on their body but that isn’t particularly the same in size and different whales species have even different color of milk even like stejneger’s beaked whale has a mixture of blue and green milk color, however, most whale’s species have a half white or a mixture of white and yellow color.
Do Male Whales Have Nipples?
While there are many strange phenomenal, one of them is why do males have nipples including humans. While man and women have some differences, it is really the same at first in the womb. After six weeks, when the baby has come into shape, the genetic cells and brain come to work but at that moment, the baby has already nipples and would remain despite you’re male or female. There’s no solid reason why they are here without any work. They neither lactate nor use it any other way, however, scientist reports that men can and even have breastfeeded. Because they do have the same milk ducts as women and mammary tissues.
In most whale species, male whales do have nipples of two same as the female. For the same reason why other male animals and even humans male have two nipples, male whales have also two nipples. However, there has been not really researched on this but it for the same reason as other mammals.
How Long Do Whales Breastfeed Their Baby?
There’s no particular mating season but whales mostly mate in January and February and after 12 – 15 months pregnancy, depending on the whale’s species. Unlike raccoons which give birth upto 7 babies at a time, Whales give birth to one baby at a time which would be from January up to May that mostly happens in winter. Female whale normally breeds every 2 – 5 years due to the baby whale grown-up which usually takes more than one year mostly depends on the species of the whale. Like the killer whale breeds every 3 – 5 years and humpback whale give birth every 2 – 3 years.
After the baby whale has grown up, the female whale mates with multiple whales. A baby whale is called claff and soon within a few days, the baby starts swimming and drinking milk from her mother. There is a difference in how long the lactation lasts between whale’s species.
All of the female whales breastfeed calves, and the lactation period lasts from six months to one year, however, some species of the whale’s lactation period could last up to 3 years. Within six months, a claff is more than half the size of its mother but would still breastfeed however, it would also consume other food. However, in some species of whales, this process lasts up to three years and that’s when the claff will eat most of what her mothers eat and would also be large enough and nearly as much as her mother. Unlike polar bears, whales have a strong family relationship, feeds, and take care of the claff after it has been grown.
Whales do produce milk to feed calves and their milk is highly nutrition-rich of fat, protein, and energy whereas a women’s milk is mostly water and contains a few percent of those nutrients. Whale’s milk contains very few percentages of water and is very thick, even thickest milk ever. The baby fits her mouth and tongue to her mother’s nipple and drinks it very fastly. In this manner, they manage to help and act together.
Do Whales Produce Milk?
Yes, whales do produce milk and they have the thickest milk ever.
Do Whales Breastfeed Orphan Babies?
Unlike squirrels and beavers, whales have a strong relationship with each other even after they have fully grown up. As whale’s like people like dolphins, they have also some human habits. Comparing whales with us, both of them are the same. Whales do breastfeed orphan calves and also take care of them. You can probably find a whale breastfeeding another baby whale and the baby would be likely orphan. However, as of orphan terms, I mean of the whale that her mother has died, as whales do not leave their babies until they haven’t completely grown up. Even after they have fully grown, the whale’s mother takes care and the baby whale wouldn’t leave her mother also.