Blue Whale Size Comparison: Discover How Big They Really Are

The blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) is the largest animal on Earth. When you see a blue whale in person or in photos, it’s hard to grasp just how huge these magnificent marine mammals truly are.

So, let’s walk through some size comparisons to everything that most people are familiar with.

Blue Whale Size Comparison

Dimensions of a Blue Whale

On average, adult blue whales reach lengths of 80-100 feet and weigh between 100-150 tons – can up to 200 tons. Females are generally larger than males. Newborn calves already weigh 2.5-4 tons, with lengths of about 23 feet.

The biggest blue whale ever recorded was a female that weighed 418,878 pounds or 190 tons in March 1947. To grasp how huge that is, this whale weighed more than 30 adult African elephants. In fact, it was about as heavy as the Statue of Liberty!

Now, let’s break down the actual measurements of various parts of a blue whale’s massive body:

Blue Whale Heart Size

A blue whale’s heart can weigh over 1000 pounds, approximately 5 feet long by 4 feet wide by 5 feet high. For perspective, it’s about the size of a small car.

The blue whale’s heart beats 33 times per minute and pumps about 60 gallons of blood with each beat. A human heart beats 60-100 times per minute and pumps less than 0.018 gallon (2.4 ounces) per beat.

Blue Whale Brain Size

An adult blue whale’s brain weighs around 15 pounds on average. That’s comparable to the size of an adult elephant’s brain. So, its brain accounts for less than 1% of the total body mass.

For perspective, the average adult human’s brain makes up about 2% of their total body weight. So, a blue whale’s brain is quite small relative to its body compared to most mammals.

Blue Whale Eye Size

A blue whale’s eyeball is around the size of a grapefruit, averaging about 4-5 inches in diameter. So, the whale’s eyes are fairly small in comparison to the enormity of their body.

These marine mammals rely more on their sense of hearing than vision underwater. Just another intriguing aspect of these magnificent creatures!

Blue Whale Throat Size

The throat of a blue whale is relatively small compared to its enormous body size. It’s only 4 to 8 inches (10.1 to 20.3 cm) in diameter, only about the size of a basketball.

Despite their immense mouths, blue whales cannot swallow large objects. Their narrow throats allow them to filter feed on tiny krill.

Blue Whale Tongue Size

The blue whale’s tongue is around 8,000 pounds (3-4 tons), about the size of a full-grown African elephant. Length around 12 feet long, longer than a shipping container.

Blue Whale Vein Size

The veins of blue whales are enormous, measuring up to 9 inches in diameter. While a human could potentially fit their head inside a blue whale vein. However, the vein’s incredible girth means only the head would fit – not the entire body.

The whale’s pulse also generates tremendous pressure. With each beat, their veins bulge and flex from the pumped blood’s force. The veins’ muscular walls help propel blood throughout the whale’s extensive circulatory network.

Types of Blue Whales

There is still much debate about the classification of blue whales. However, there are five officially recognized subspecies, each with unique characteristics and sizes. They belong to the baleen whale suborder and live in all oceans except the Arctic Ocean.

  1. Antarctic blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus intermedia)
  2. North Atlantic and North Pacific blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus musculus)
  3. Northern Indian Ocean blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus indica)
  4. Pygmy blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus brevicauda)
  5. South Pacific Ocean blue whale

Of five subspecies, the Antarctic Blue Whale is the largest. They can grow up to 110 feet, weighing over 330,000 pounds (about 165 tons). The Pygmy Blue Whale is the smallest among them – averaging 79 feet in length and weighing about 170,000 pounds.

Blue Whale Size Comparison to Human

Here’s how big is a blue whale compared to a human

When a human is next to a blue whale, the incredible size difference is mind-boggling. The blue whale absolutely dwarfs people in all dimensions.

The average blue whale spans 80-100 feet (24-30 m) long. In contrast, the average adult human stands around 5-6 feet tall. So, a blue whale is over 16 times longer than a person’s height!

Average adult blue whales weigh 72-135 tons. That means a single blue whale weighs the same as 1,500 adult humans!

If you laid a blue whale lengthwise across a football field, its tail would stick out of one end zone while its head would protrude past the other end zone. That demonstrates how remarkably massive blue whales are compared to a field that feels so immense to humans.

Visitors can climb through replica blue whale hearts at some museums. For instance, the New Bedford Whaling Museum in Massachusetts has a life-size fiberglass model of a blue whale heart. Guests can explore inside this replica to get a sense of the enormous real whale heart’s scale.

When it comes to speed, an adult human can sprint perhaps 15-20 mph briefly. In contrast, blue whales commonly cruise at 15-20 mph and can reach bursts of speed over 30 mph. So even when swimming, the blue whale can outpace a running human.

Blue Whale Vs. Megalodon Size Comparison

Megalodon was only nearly half the length and weight of a blue whale

The megalodon shark lived around 3 million years ago. They were the largest sharks ever to exist in the ocean. But how does it compare in size to the blue whale?

Scientists can’t say exactly what Megalodon looked like. However, they have estimated Megalodon’s size by comparing its fossil teeth to the teeth and body size of modern great white sharks which are Megalodon’s close living relatives.

From these comparisons:

Adult Megalodons had an average length of around 33.5 feet, with the largest reaching about 58.7 feet. Their body mass likely ranged from 30 to 65 tons. So, even the biggest Megalodon was only nearly half the length and weight of the average blue whale!

Blue Whale Size Compared to Brontosaurus

how big is a blue whale compared to a Brontosaurus
Here’s how big is a blue whale compared to a Brontosaurus

Do you know Brontosaurus? They are gentle giant prehistoric dinosaurs. The Brontosaurus had a long neck. It was like the neck of modern-day giraffes. This helped them reach high leaves. They could also bend their necks to eat low plants without walking far.

The brontosaurus was one of the largest land animals that ever existed. But how does the mighty brontosaurus size up against Earth’s biggest animal, the blue whale?

In terms of length, the brontosaurus reached about 70-80 feet long. That’s puny compared to the blue whale’s average length of 80-100 feet. The blue whale surpasses even the longest brontosaurus specimens.

Looking at weight, the brontosaurus weighed around 30-35 tons at full size, based on fossil evidence. The blue whale that at a staggering 100-150 tons, outweighing the brontosaurus by a factor of 3 or more.

While giant during its era, the brontosaurus was still only half the size of Earth’s largest-ever animal, the blue whale. It shows that today’s ocean giants surpass even the mightiest land animals in sheer massive scale and tonnage.

Comparing Blue Whales to Other Large Whale Species

The blue whale dwarfs even its closest rivals in the whale world. Here’s how the blue whale stacks up against other big whale species:

Humpback whale: Adults reach 40-50 feet long on average and weigh around 30-40 tons. Quite large, but not even half the size of a blue whale!

Fin whale: The second largest baleen whale species at around 60-80 feet long and 40-80 tons. Still looks tiny next to a blue whale.

Southern right whale: A stout 43-56 feet long and up to 88 tons makes the southern right whale look petite compared to a blue whale.

Sperm whale: The largest of all toothed whale species. Though males can reach 60 feet long (18 meters), sperm whales are more slender and weigh less around 100 tons than blue whales.

That puts even the largest whales to shame in terms of size and bulk. No wonder the blue whale earned the title of the largest animal on Earth.

Blue Whale Compared to Boat

A typical blue whale can reach lengths of 100 feet, which is longer than most boats. For reference, a 30-foot recreational boat would only reach the tail area of an average-sized blue whale.

For example, here is a video of a blue whale swimming next to a whale watching boat:

Here is another video: a drone shows a blue whale that is larger than an 87-foot boat.

As you can see, the blue whale is much larger than the boat.

In terms of weight, blue whales are also much heavier than boats. A blue whale can weigh up to 150 tons, while a 72-foot whale watching boat weighs about 30 tons.

Blue Whale Size Comparison to Cruise Ship

Blue whales can grow over 100 feet long and weigh over 200 tons. Cruise ships, on the other hand, are massive vessels that can carry thousands of passengers and crew.

The largest cruise ships in the world are over 1,000 feet long and weigh over 200,000 tons. Like Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas, can reach over 1,100 feet long, weigh over 222,000 tons, and carry over 5,000 passengers.

As you can see, the blue whale is dwarfed by the cruise ship. The cruise ship is at least 10 times larger than the blue whale in terms of length and weight.

Here is an image that shows the size comparison between a blue whale and a cruise ship:

Blue whale swimming next to cruise ship

This image gives us a better sense of the scale of the two animals. The blue whale is still a very large animal, but it looks tiny next to the massive cruise ship.

The size difference between blue whales and cruise ships is a reminder of the power and majesty of nature. Blue whales are incredible animals. We must safeguard them from dangers like ship collisions, pollution, and climate change.

Blue Whale Compared to A Bus

A standard school bus is about 40 feet long. In contrast, the average blue whale spans approximately 100 feet from head to tail. So, it would take two to three lined up school buses to equal the length of a single adult blue whale. Their immensity dwarfs even large vehicles designed for hauling people.

In terms of weight, a typical school bus weighs under 10 tons empty. A blue whale can weigh 15 times as much.

To visualize the scale, picture a standard yellow school bus parked beside a swimming blue whale. The bus’s height would reach just halfway up the whale’s body. If stacked on top of each other, it would take 4-5 full school buses to equal the blue whale’s height when vertical.

Similar Posts