The Suitcase Lady


September 12, 2017, 9:22 pm

On June 17, 2008, I posted a blog on how to wash a chicken. It’s time for a corollary to that blog. It’s about thinking bigger. So here’s how to clean a whale.

A news item in the NY Times entitled, “Thar She Glows”, tells all…how The American Museum of Natural History in New York City gives its life size blue whale model an annual “bath”.

Cleaning a 94 foot long, 21,000 pound mammal is no easy task. Plus, she is suspended from the ceiling in a dive pose. The cleaning takes two days and is done from a cherry picker. One worker with strong arms and shoulders wields a vacuum cleaner with long attachments ending in a soft brush. As the dust is sucked away, the whale’s delicate blue-gray color reappears.

Real blue whales need no cleaning. They use all the world’s oceans as their bathtubs.

Blue whales are thought to be the largest creatures of all time, even surpassing the size and weight of giant dinosaurs. Here are a few more whale size facts:

  • Blue whales can reach 100 feet long and weigh 180 tons. The female is bigger than the male. (Go girl!)
  • The whale’s tongue can weigh as much as an elephant.
  • These colossal mammals eat tiny food, krill, a shrimp-like zooplankton. Up to 4 tons of krill can be consumed in a day.
  • Blue whales are among the loudest animals on the planet, making groans and moans.
  • After a 12 month wait, mother blue whale gives birth to her 3 ton baby.
  • Baby blue whale dines exclusively on mother’s milk for a year and gains 200 pounds a day. (Yes, I tripled checked this!)
  • When blue whales breathe out, the spray from the blowholes can shoot up to 30 feet in the air.
  • The life span of blue whales is 80 to 90 years.
  • 95% or more of the entire blue whale population was killed during the whaling era. They are now a protected species.

Here is a picture of the actual size of the blue whale’s heart which I painted to use in my science classes for children.

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