Most whales are known for their loud underwater calls that can reach across many miles of ocean, but scientists have revealed that newborn humpback whales and their mothers frequently whisper to each other as part of a defence mechanism against attack.
The study, by researchers from Denmark and Australia revealed unique, intimate forms of communication between mothers and calves thought to be used to avoid any potential predators like orcas from listening in, locating and then killing the calves
A number of the mothers and young were observed by the research team in Exmouth Gulf, Western Australia, a breeding ground for Antarctic humpback whales.
“They don’t want any unwanted listeners,” researcher Simone Videsen, lead author of a study published in Functional Ecology, said.
“These signals between mother and calf are more quiet than those of normal adult humpback whales. The pairs in the study could only hear each others’ calls within a distance of less than 100 metres”, she added.