Our Blue Whale bill commemorates that huge marine mammal that can range up to 110 feet in length (longer than a Boeing 737 airplane) and weigh up to 200 tons. A Blue Whale's tongue is about the size of an elephant, and up to 50 humans could stand in its mouth! Even though its mouth is huge, its throat cannot swallow anything larger than a beach ball. Blue Whales were found in all oceans around the world in the beginning of the Twentieth Century. Heavy hunting by whalers nearly led to their extinction. In 2002, it was estimated that there were no more than 12,000 Blue Whales left. Blue Whales feed exclusively on krill, which are shrimp-like marine invertebrate animals. The whale feeds by lunging forward at groups of krill. It takes the animals and a large quantity of water into its huge mouth. The water is then squeezed out through its baleen plates by pressing the tongue up against the water. Once the mouth is clear of water, the remaining krill, unable to pass through the plates, are swallowed.
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