Do Whales Die of Old Age?

Did you know that even though whales live in water they can breathe in the air? Like humans, they are also warm-blooded species. Whales are massive mammals. They are very interesting, mysterious and can live for 50-100 years according to the variety of species. Surprisingly whales also share a human-like social behavior. They have social groups and relationships among themselves where they possess the ability to connect one-to-one within themselves. They play a massive role in maintaining the environment’s well-being and contributing to the food chain.Let us know more about Do whales die at old age..!

Do Whales Die of Old Age?

They communicate with each other in various ways. They express three diverse sound kinds, including whistles, clicks, and pulsing calls. Large whales are able to survive in the chilly waters. They have adaptations that allow them to survive the best and thrive in the polar regions. Yes, whales die of old age because the different species have different lifespans. There are other reasons why whales can die but natural death can occur to whales because of their aging. As the age of whales goes on, the energy to come up on the surface to breathe is lost leading them to drown. 

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Baleen and toothed whales

Baleen whales- 

Baleen whales are immense creatures on earth. They specialize in filter feeding and survive on small fishes of zooplankton. The whale bones are composed of human fingernails like material and animal horns. Most baleen whales follow a migratory pattern because they face the dilemma that there might be more food available in the ocean, but the environment may be vulnerable to the newborns. 

Toothed whales- 

Toothed whales consist of 10 families containing dolphins. They are predators. They use echolocation to chase and see underwater. They tend to be more social and are assumed to be the most intelligent creatures on Earth accompanied by large brains with complex behaviors.    

Food habits of whales

Different whales feed on different types of fish but all of them feed on krill.

Baleen whales consume zooplankton such as small prey like fish, krill, crustaceans, squids, octopus, and crabs but smaller in size which is called copepods.

They consume large quantities of small-fitting prey and feed by swallowing or filtering food. Toothed whales are active hunters by their teeth for the big animals such as seals, sharks, and birds as well as they can hunt other whales as well whereas the majority of toothed whales prefer fishes, squids, octopuses, and crustaceans.

Lifespan of whales

The average and expected lifespan of a whale is nearly 40-70 years of a healthy and vulnerable whale. Although the average lifespan differs significantly based on the species, environment, habitat, and lifestyle. Different species have different life expectancies. There is no specific answer to this yet, as some species are difficult to research and gather data. 

Based on the prior research, some scientists have concluded this lifespan of whales.

  • The average lifespan of a beluga whale is 40 to 60 years.
  • The blue whale lives for 70 to 90 years on average.
  • The Bowhead whale lives between 100 and 200 years on average. 
  • The fin whale lives for 60 to 100 years on average.
  • The gray whale often lives 50 to 70 years.
  • The humpback whale lives between 40 and 100 years on average.
  • The Minke whale typically lives between 30 and 50 years.
  • The narwhal whale lives between 40 and 60 years on average.
  • The Sperm whale lives for 60 to 80 years on average.

Factors affecting whale’s lifespan

Multiple factors affect the lifespan of whales. For instance, the environment plays a vital role. Before 2014, it was known that Sea World had captive killer whales and beluga whales. In contrast to killer whales in the ocean, which normally live between 30 and 50 years of age depending on gender and they die at old age, killer whales kept in captivity typically do not survive into their 20s. 

The suffering of endangered species also has an impact on a whale’s longevity because they have difficulty reproducing and interacting with a social group. This lack of interaction then creates a disturbance in their social life leading to stress and eventually lifespan too. Lastly, geography or location is also a factor to consider. Any species that lives closer to or feeds near a commercial area or beach is at more risk as they can get stuck by the ship, and deal with the water pollution.  


Whales are the biggest and longest-living mammals on the planet. They have a ranging lifespan from 30 to 200 years based on their species as well as their inhabiting surroundings. They have a specialized brain that enables them to communicate with each other via the sound medium. They have three different types of sounds to communicate among themselves. Their food habits also differ according to their surroundings and species but most of them are dependent on krills, squids, octopus, crustaceans, etc however hunter whales hunt large aquatic species as well. When whales grow older, they lose the ability to swim to the surface to breathe, which could cause them to drown.


  1. How is Whale’s Age determined?

Technology now allows us to assess the age of any whale. Researchers use a photo ID technique to check a whale’s age, which means photographing the whale since birth. This technique works well but needs a set of resources and consistency of time. Also, advanced technology has simplified the process of viewing the findings of a whale photo taken.

  1. How long can whales hold their breath? 

They live most of their life beneath the water while different species of whales can hold their breath for length of time durations. Most whales have a breathing capacity of an hour or 90 minutes. The cuvier’s beaked whale is known to hold up its breath for 138 minutes.

  1. What is the greatest threat to whales?

The biggest threat to those giant mammals is four times smaller than them than is from humans. Human intervention is influencing their lifestyle to a greater extent. 

Do Whales Die of Old Age?

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