How do mammals in the ocean breathe during violent storms?


Seriously, during storms, those waves are whiping around, up and down, you never see dolphins or whales coming up for air, it’s always in calm water. How do they breathe in storms without gulping in tons of water and drowning?

In: 12

It’s not a problem – when waves are whipping around up and down, so is everything else on the surface and just below the surface. In other words, the mammals are moving up and down along with the water’s surface, so they just pop up a bit and are enough above the surface to take in a breath through their blowholes. They certainly get some water in their lungs during this process, but their bodies handle it – they expel the water on their next breath.

well you should know that they do have a sense of sea conditions and generally avoid rough seas. also keep in mind no one sees whales in storms because humans can barely see in storms at all.

even if they get stuck in the middle of a hurricane, they need about 1 second to replace the bulk of their air supply less than once an hour. plus, they move more than 10mph. so they have a ton of options for finding an opening.

lastly, the sea isn’t really that threatening to them. getting driven under isn’t an immediate threat, swimming is trivial effort to them, and getting shoved around by the water doesn’t hurt them. what’s the whale gonna do, capsize?

They can be underwater for a looong time and underwater is significantly calmer than topside

It’s not a problem for them at all. They just make sure their blowhole is a little bit higher above the water surface by pushing more of their head out of the water so they avoid any splashes towards the blowhole. The whole exchange of air is only about 2 seconds for the larger whales, way less for dolphins. So they only need a 2 second window, and they know how to predict a waves speed and direction to take the breath at the ideal time.

Plus don’t forget they are in the water floating, and will float up and down with the wave, they don’t suddenly have a meter of water flowing over their heads