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Humpback Whales Breaching in BC
May 19, 2023

Humpback Whales Breaching in BC

Prince of Whales

Why Do Humpback Whales Breach?

If you’ve ever had the privilege of witnessing a humpback whale breach, you know that it’s just breathtaking! Watching these majestic creatures launching themselves out of the water and crashing back down leaves us in awe every single time! In this blog post, we’ll explore the fascinating reasons behind humpback whale breaching and delve into the possible explanations for this awe-inspiring phenomenon.

Communication and Social Interaction:
One of the leading theories behind humpback whale breaching is that it serves as a form of communication and social interaction. Whales are social creatures, and breaching could be a way for them to convey messages to one another. The colossal splash and the loud noise created by the breach can be a signal for other whales in the area, helping them locate each other and establish social connections.

Mating Displays and Attraction:
During the breeding season, male humpback whales often engage in elaborate displays to attract mates. Breaching is believed to be a part of their courtship behavior, showcasing their strength and agility to potential mates. The impressive display of power and acrobatics may serve as a visual spectacle to attract females and assert dominance over competing males.

Removing Parasites:
Another intriguing theory suggests that breaching helps humpback whales get rid of parasites, dead skin and sea-lice. When a whale propels itself out of the water and crashes back down, the impact could dislodge parasites, so this behavior could help maintain the health and cleanliness of their bodies, ensuring optimal skin condition and reducing the risk of infection.

Play and Exercise:
Humpback whales are known for their playful nature, and breaching may be an expression of their exuberance and joy. Just like dolphins and other cetaceans, humpbacks may breach simply for the sheer pleasure of it. It could be a way for them to have fun, release energy, and engage in playful interactions with other members of their pod.

Navigation and Orientation:
Breaching could also play a role in navigation and orientation for humpback whales. The aerial view obtained during a breach allows the whale to gain a better perspective of its surroundings, including landmarks, ocean currents, and potential prey. This behavior may assist in identifying feeding grounds, migration routes, and other important locations within their habitat.

The reasons behind humpback whale breaching are multifaceted and continue to be a subject of scientific study and speculation. While we may never fully understand the exact motivations behind this mesmerizing behavior, we can appreciate the beauty and wonder it brings to our encounters with these magnificent creatures. Whether it’s for communication, courtship, cleansing, play, or navigation, witnessing a humpback whale breach is an awe-inspiring reminder of the incredible diversity and complexity of the natural world. And if you want to watch Humpback whales, make sure to jump on one of our tours this summer!

Watch this incredible video of a recent breach!

Video Credits: Mandy Street

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