Test your knowledge: Marine mammals

SeasideNaturalistCoverIt’s time for another “Test your knowledge” quiz. This time it’s brought to you by page 211 of one of my favorite books, Seaside Naturalist (written and illustrated by Deborah Coulombe). Here’s a true/false quiz all about those marine mammals we all know and love … well, take the quiz and see how well you know them. First 3 people to submit all correct answers below as comments (before I post the correct answers in a week) will get a free DVD of Ocean Frontiers.

1. Whales sweat profusely while diving.
2. The blue whale is the largest animal ever known on Earth.
3. Whales can drown.
4. Whales can be told apart by the way they spout.
5. Whales never sleep.
6. Baby whales are born tail first.
7. When whales breach, they jump completely out of the water.
8. Whales spout by blowing water out of their blowhole.
9. In Japan, dogs eat whales meat.
10. Manatee are the only vegetarian marine mammals.

Know anyone that might want to share a passion a marine science, environmental education, or ocean conservation by writing for Beach Chair Scientist? Guest posting is always welcome!


  1. Whales don’t have sweat glands.
    Blue whales are the largest known organism on Earth.
    Whales can drown.
    Whale spouts are unique (I hear right whales shout a v shaped spout from two blow holes.)
    Whales rest but never fully become unconscious.
    Whales are born tail first to ensure the don’t drown during birth.
    A breach is considered any breaking of the ocean surface.
    A spout is water and old oxygen propelled through the blowhole.
    Dogs eat whatever you feed them, I’m sure Japan has used whale to make dog food.
    Dugongs eat mostly grass but have been known to eat smaller crustaceans.

  2. 1.False.

  3. Andrew Gamache says:

    1. F
    2. T
    3. T
    4. T
    5. T
    6. T
    7. F
    8. F
    9. T
    10. T. My son Andrew took this quiz 🙂

  4. Mike Horan says:

    Whales get rid of excess heat by increasing blood flow to tail and dorsal fins.
    Blue whales are the largest ANIMAL (by mass) to have ever lived on earth, not the largest organism.
    Whales breathe air, many have drowned in nets.
    Different species of whales have different shaped spouts.
    Whales can sleep for short times at the surface, but have to wake up to breathe, which is strictly voluntary. When they do it sometimes sounds like a snore. If they were to slip beneath the surface and breathe, they could drown.
    Most Cetaceans are born tail first, but not all. I have seen video of a Beluga birth head first.
    Not all breaches clear the water.
    The whale’s spout is mostly condensed water vapor, a small amount of leakage is also purged.
    The Japanese do eat whale meat, but it is also fed to animals. In Russia, it was used as feed on a Mink farm.
    Very few Marine Mammals are true meat eaters. Most eat fish, squid, krill, etc. Orcas and Leopard Seals are exceptions. Manatees and Dugongs primarily eat plants.

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