A blue whale’s efforts to feed efficiently
If you had to get all your calories for the day from krill, how would you do it? The tiny crustaceans generally weigh no more than 0.035 ounces each, and they’re probably not offering more than 0.9 calories a pop. So to hit the recommended 2,000 calories for your day, what’s the best way to eat those 2,222 krill? Maybe for tips you should look to blue whales who have figured out how to eat 503,913 krill per mouthful.
A blue whale can grow between 160 to 200 tons, and as such needs a lot of food to keep itself going. The aforementioned krill only make sense as a food source if they can be eaten en masse, and these whales have figured out how handle that quite well. The large mammals swim down as low as 500 meters below the surface before lunging upwards into swarms of krill. On the way up, they open their mouths and suck in everything they can, including up to 110 tons of sea water. That gets filtered out through their baleen, leaving them to gulp down the 1,102 pounds of krill that remain in their mouths.
Even though this gulping, and the whale’s mass, create an impressive amount of drag moving upwards through the water, it’s still worth it to the whale. They’re estimated to burn 770 to 1900 calories with each 8 mile-per-hour lunge, which becomes a small investment compared to the half-million calories they then swallow. Since you’re probably not familiar with the effort needed to eat even 2,000 krill yourself, maybe imagine eating 1,587 hot dogs in a single sitting to get the idea.
Make the most of every mouthful
Some of this efficiency is possible because the whales don’t bother with small snacks. They pass over lower-density swarms of krill, waiting for spots where they’ll be able to maximize the returns on their exertion. Their large mouth obviously helps, but it’s important to know when it’s worth opening when aiming to eat as much as 4 tons of food in a single day.
PS: If you feel like working on your daily krill intake, maybe consider some Dried Krill Rice to get started on your daily quota.
Source: Blue whales can eat half a million calories in a single mouthful by Ed Yong, Not Exactly Rocket Science