Humpback whales have a whale-sized appetite, which should come as no surprise given that they are among of the biggest mammals on the world. In fact, whales consume up to 1,500,000 calories each day to fulfill their energy requirements, which is nearly the same as an adult person would consume in little more than two years.
But, as wonderful as that truth is, the way humpback whales get their fill is even more astonishing. Instead of avoiding their equally hungry humpback buddies in the hopes of finding a meal for themselves, these incredible animals collaborate to make feeding a bit simpler for everyone.
Despite their vast size (they may weigh up to 50 tons), humpback whales mostly feed tiny shrimp-like animals known as krill, as well as other small fish. Because even the smallest movement in search of food may be expensive in terms of energy costs, they must make the most of every mouthful.
To make the most of every mouthful, humpback whales have mastered a hunting strategy known as “bubble net” eating. A pod of whales will surround an amorphous school of krill or fish, expelling air as they travel through the water to form an impenetrable “net.” With the krill compacted, the group pushes for the surface, jaws gaping, grabbing as much of the delectable meal as they can.
While seeing this feeding strategy from the surface is remarkable, Vimeo user AkXpro just posted film of whales “bubble net” feeding from an overhead drone, highlighting the sophisticated, coordinated activity.