Why Do Whales Tail Lob?

Why do whales tail lob? The language of the tail lob is defensive as Humpback Whales use this to create a bigger reactionary distance around themselves, deter approaching whales, predators, vessels or to establish dominance. The tail lob can also be referred to as a tail throw or peduncle slap as the muscle they a throwing above the surface is called the peduncle which runs from the dorsal fin down to the fluke. Today we had a wonderful display of tail lobs as the young calves were practicing consistently as they socialised with other pods. A pod of two mums and calves were mingling together and a short distance away another pod of three mums and bubs were also enjoying playtime. It is fantastic to see so much energy amongst the calves even in the final stages of the southern migration.

The interactions observed are reflecting very healthy, happy calves that are feeling strong and ready to play which is fantastic to see. The mother whales joined in as well with gentle tail slaps and encouraged the calves to practice the language of the fluke today with tail slapping, tail lobs and inverted tail slapping the favourites being practiced amongst them all. A few flirty pec slaps were thrown in for good measure as one of the calves enjoyed swimming upside down for prolonged periods of time while showing off to the other two youngsters. The little ones are so curious and cheeky at this age group as their individual personalities really start to shine through. Curious approaches past our bow for a closer look were enjoyed before they resumed back to playtime as the cheeky female calf launched into a huge fully body breach just off our bow. A beautiful morning with the whales and a great lesson in the tail lob and why it is important for these calves to get their technique correct as it will be a big part of adult whale conversations.

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