Questions from the public

A selection of answers to your questions.

  • 2019 / 07 / 11

    What is ambergris?

    Par Jeanne Picher-Labrie / Questions from the public

    Sperm whales are known and have been hunted for their production of ambergris, a substance of great value that has historically been used notably in the perfume industry. It is estimated that ambergri...

  • 2019 / 07 / 05

    Do humpback whales have friends?

    Par Jeanne Picher-Labrie / Questions from the public

    Since arriving in the Marine Park area, Tic Tac Toe has been observed multiple times with another female nicknamed Snowball. At the end of last summer, it was with Gaspar that Tic Tac Toe spent all he...

  • 2019 / 05 / 16

    Do whales suffer from sunburn?

    Par Jeanne Picher-Labrie / Questions from the public

    Unlike other mammals, whales do not have hair to protect their skin. Even if they spend little time at the surface, can whales get sunburn? Mechanism of sunburn Sunburn is caused by ultraviolet (UV) r...

  • 2019 / 05 / 03

    Are whales’ bones adapted to their diving?

    Par Marie-Ève Muller / Questions from the public

    Several species of whales have traits that are well suited to their diving behaviour. For example, the relatively small size of their lungs relative to their body allows them to carry less air when th...

  • Rorqual à bosse 2019 / 04 / 12

    What is a laryngeal sac?

    Par Jeanne Picher-Labrie / Questions from the public

    The laryngeal sac is a structure found in baleen whales, but also in many other mammals, including primates (but not humans!). Lying between the mouth and the trachea, it is a cavity associated with t...

  • 2019 / 03 / 15

    A diver caught in a whale’s mouth?

    Par Jeanne Picher-Labrie / Questions from the public

    While feeding at the surface, a Bryde’s whale accidentally snatched up a diver, who found himself, from the waist up, inside the whale’s mouth! At the time of the events, the diver was working...

  • Un béluga est à la surface et sa bouche est ouverte. 2019 / 02 / 06

    Do whales have baby teeth?

    Par Jeanne Picher-Labrie / Questions from the public

    Humans have two generations of teeth: deciduous teeth (from the Latin “to fall”) – also called “baby teeth” – and permanent teeth. Known as diphyodontia, this phenomenon is...

  • Trois bélugas de différentes couleur à la surface : un blanc et deux gris de teinte différente. 2019 / 02 / 06

    How do they determine the age of whales?

    Par Jeanne Picher-Labrie / Questions from the public

    Estimating the age of marine mammals is more complex than one might think. Few reliable techniques exist to determine the age of whales, at least in the case of living specimens. Yet it is an essentia...

  • Baleine noire © André Desrochers 2019 / 01 / 23

    Which whale species has the largest testicles?

    Par Jeanne Picher-Labrie / Questions from the public

    North Atlantic right whales have the largest testicles in the animal kingdom. They can exceed 900 kg, which corresponds to about 2% of the animal’s total weight. Harbour porpoises have nothing to be...

  • Un rorqual commun et son veau nagent ensemble. 2019 / 01 / 17

    How do calves manage to follow their mothers?

    Par Jeanne Picher-Labrie / Questions from the public

    After birth, a calf remains with its mother at a minimum for the duration of nursing, which varies from a few months to a few years, depending on the species. Since calves only drink breast milk early...