How do Whales Reproduce?

Whale Reproduction Facts

Whales are mammals, they nourish their young with milk from the mother.

Like most mammals, whale calves are nourished in the womb of the mothers through an umbilical cord and they grow inside the mother until they are ready to perform some basic actions, as swimming, that will help them survive outside their mothers.

Mother whales take care for their young during a long nursing period which lasts for at least 6 months.
Most whales breed in warm waters, as young calves will not have enough fat around their body to protect them from cold waters.

Reproductive maturity in whales occurs typically between 7 and 10 years old.

The gestation period varies for each species.

The best known baleen whales, have the following gestation periods.

  • Blue whales gestation period is about 10-12 months.
  • Bowhead whales gestate for 13-14 months.
  • Gray whales 13.5 months.
  • Humpback whales 11-12 months.
  • Minke whales 10 months.
  • Right whales 12 months.

Toothed whales have longer gestation periods.

  • Beluga whales 14-15 months.
  • Narwhal 14 months.
  • Orca 16-17 months.
  • Sperm whale 16 months.