Minke Whale,
Balaenoptera acutorostrata


Minke whale, San Juan Islands, Washington.
Minke whale, San Juan Islands, Washington.
Click for a larger view.


A minke whale (pronounced mink-ee) is a marine mammal that is frequently-seen around the San Juan Islands Washington. (Click on the photo at right for a larger view.) They are somewhat less-dramatic than Orca whales since they stay underwater many minutes between surface breaths, but, that makes the sight of one all the more thrilling. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, yes? They will dive on average for about 10 minutes, and as long as 25 minutes -- whale watching season for these animals is designed for the patient observer!


Minke whale drawing, San Juan Islands, Washington.
Minke whale.
Click for a larger view.


Whale Facts: (Click on the drawing at left for a larger view.) Minkes are baleen whales, named for the baleen "plates" that filter their food from seawater. They are the smallest of the baleen whales in North America, up to about 35 feet long, and also the most abundant worldwide. They do not have teeth, but rather use these baleen plates to sift and gather food. Interesting fact: baleen whales have two blowholes, which make a sort of V-shaped blow when they breathe. They are mostly solitary whales, but sometimes travel in small groups of 2 or 3.

Similar to Orca whales, Minkes make vocalizations, sounds like clicks and grunts. Boat noise and other underwater sounds are an increasing concern for Minke, Orca, and other whales who use low-frequency sounds to communicate with one another. Considering the fact that whale communication can travel for many miles underwater, it is understandable how human noises interfere with whale communication, probably in more ways than we may ever know.

Minke whale, San Juan Island, WashingtonBe sure to visit the Whale Museum Friday Harbor and get the facts about the resident Orca whale as well as the Gray whale, and other wildlife of the San Juan Islands.

Jump straight to these facts: Little Brown Bats, Bird Facts, Cool Facts, Deer Facts, Red Fox Facts, Hawk Facts, Raccoon Facts, Flying Squirrels, Sea Lion Facts, Gray Whales, or Killer Whale Facts.

Return to Simply San Juan from Minke Whale.

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