How long can whales live?
September 30, 2019
How long whales live depends on the species and how well they have been studied, there is still a lot that we do not know about whales! Some of the oldest whales are also some of the largest whales and many of them can be found in Icelandic waters. Check out our blog on How Large Can Whales Grow? for more information.
The five whale species which are thought to grow oldest are listed here:
- The most long-lived whale and the oldest mammal reported has been the Bowhead Whale where an individual was found to be of over 200 years of age!
This species of whale is only found in the Arctic.
- The Fin Whale has been found to be live up to 140 years (average 90 years) and is commonly found in Icelandic waters.
This whale is also the second largest species in the world.
- The Blue Whale has been reported to live to over 100 years (average more 70 than years). Blue whales are also the largest whales.
In summer 2019 we spotted a Blue Whale and her calf on one of our whale watching tours in the Faxafloi Bay, even though they usually are sighted in the North of Iceland!
- The Humpback Whale which has been reported to get as old as 100 years (average 80-90).
Humpback Whales are regular visitors in the Faxafloi Bay and often spotted on our whale watching tours.
- The Sperm Whale has been reported to reach 80 years of age (average 60 years).
Sperm whales are also the largest toothed whales and residents in Icelandic waters.
The four most common cetacean species which we see on our tours are Minke Whales, White Beaked Dolphins, Harbour Porpoises and Humpback Whales. Out of those species Humpback Whales are the oldest with up to 100 years and Minke Whales can live up to 50 years! The life expectancy of White Beaked Dolphins is not well known, it is estimated to be between 40 and 50 years. Harbour Porpoises have been reported to live to 23 years of age (average 7 to 10 years).
A White Beaked Dolphin
A Humpback Whale
A Minke Whale
Dr. Annemarie Kramer
Special Tours Wildlife Adventures Guide