Why Do Humpbacks Have Scarring?

The daily tours we enjoy with our whales provides the opportunity to meet many different individual whales and one question we often ask when spending time with our Humpbacks is, “Why do Humpbacks have scarring?”. The barnacles that attache themselves to the skin of Humpback Whales are very sharp and amongst competition pods it is very easy for the males to collect many scars over a lifetime. Female Humpbacks generally will not be as heavily scarred as the males, but each whale being an individual there are a few females that may be a little more outgoing and boisterous which would also result in scarring due to close encounters with other whales. Humpback calves also have slight scarring as their close constant and close contact with mum means they too will also collect some of these barnacle scratches.

We spent the beginning of our morning with resting Humpbacks who were sleeping just in front of our bow, resurfacing regularly to see what we were up to before returning to their resting again. Stacka and mum were enjoying some morning yoga as they both twisted and turned, playing together as we watched a beautiful background of the Augusta township. Further Humpback Whales were moving through the bay as two larger adults moved past a pod of three younger adults. The two larger individuals observed the other whales from afar but didn’t seem to interested in joining with the younger adults. One of the younger whales had the most beautiful big white belly that extended towards his dorsal fin and we could clearly see a great example of why do Humpbacks have scarring. Although only a young male we could see he was a determined individual who was carefully escorting his female through Flinders Bay and away from the following male!

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