5 Facts you never knew about whale's heart

Heart of blue whale is largest known in any animal

The blue whale's heart is huge. It's the largest heart in the animal kingdom, weighing about 400 pounds (180 kg) and roughly the size of a bumper car. As a blue whale dives to feed, its giant heart may only beat twice per minute.

Heart of blue whale
Heart of blue whale

  • A blue whale’s heart is the biggest on the planet, weighing 400 pounds. That’s the weight of about 35 gallon paint cans. A blue whale’s heart is only 1% of its body weight - however the whale’s immense weight is supported by water. 
  • Is a blue whale’s heart really the size of a small car? In 2015, a dissection team in Canada extracted and measured a blue whale’s heart from a whale that washed ashore. No, it wasn’t as big as a Volkswagon – more like a small golf cart. (Still big.)
  • A blue whale’s heartbeat slows dramatically during dives to over 1,000 feet. In one study, a diving blue whale’s heart slowed to 4-8 beats a minute, with an extreme low of only two beats, a drastic measure to save oxygen.  Amazingly, between those beats, the aortic artery contracted to keep blood moving. When the whale came to the surface to breathe, its heart raced to 25-37 beats a minute. Scientists think that that a whale’s heart works close to physical limits and cannot beat faster, which is why whales have reached their largest size possible.
  • The aorta measures over 9 inches. That's the size of a dinner plate. Bon Appetit!
  • And the best fact of all: a blue whale’s heartbeat can be detected from 2 MILES AWAY.

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