Search: how big is a whale's blowhole; blowhole size
Why: You guys, guess where I finally went Sunday for the first time ever? I'll give you 3 hints:
That's right: Comic-Con!
Answer: Well, what kind of whale we talking here?
- Blue? According to this documentary about bleu whales, their blowholes are big enough for a toddler to fit inside.
- The humpback whale blowhole is 8-10 inches long.
- The sperm whale blowhole is about 20 inches long. It is also S-shaped.
- I can't find any information about killer whale blowholes, but based on this photo (which must have been taken before this happened), I am going to estimate that it's something like... 4 inches in diameter? I have no idea. You could definitely fit your whole fist in it, if that's what you're wondering.
The blowhole leads to the whale's trachea, which then goes to its lungs, bypassing the mouth. The spray from a humpback whale's blow hole goes 10-13 feet in the air. The spray from a blue whale's blowhole can go up to 30 feet!
It takes a dolphin only a fraction of a second to empty its blowhole. Baby dolphins are too dumb to understand breathing, so they raise their heads out way above the water until they get the hang of it.
Source: Enchanted Learning, Neatorama, National Geographic, this site, Understand Dolphins, Panda's Thumb (which also has part of an interesting essay about the evolution of whale nipples)
The More You Know: The blowhole is covered by a muscular flap that the whale contracts to open. When closed, the seal is water-tight. If water gets in there, the whale could drown.
Also, baleen whales (humpbacks, blue whales, gray whales) each have 2 blowholes! TWO!!
The other kind of whale (Odontoceti - sperm, killer, beluga, dolphin) is called "toothed."
One of the nostrils (air-passages) of toothed whales evolved into their echolocation system (the sensing system in which they make and receive high-pitched sounds in order to orient themselves, catch prey, and communicate), leaving them with only one blowhole.Put that in your hole and smoke it.