Whale watchers along the Gold Coast and Brisbane coastline are usually lucky enough to be treated to a male humpbackâ€™s singing. While both male and female whales make social sounds, it is only the males that can sing.
Whales in Paradise report that these social sounds include snores, coughs, squeaks, rumbles and blows. They can be heard both on board Gold Coast Whale Watching vessels and below the waterâ€™s surface with a hydrophone.
To help identify individual humpback whales, Gold Coast Whale Watchers and scientists will photograph the unique patterns of marks and pigmentation on the underside of the tail fluke. In turn, this will allow long-term studies of known whales to be documented.
There is only one known instance of a humpback moving between breeding grounds in the same season. Unsurprisingly it was not a whale that migrates to the Gold Coast every year â€“ because the Gold Coast waters are so beautiful and warm the whales cannot resist!
Today there is less than 50, 000 humpback whales left throughout the world. Before the banning of commercial whaling, hundreds of thousands of humpbacks were slaughtered throughout the world.
Even though commercial whaling was one of Australiaâ€™s first primary industrys, this has not affected the humpbackâ€™s love for the warm waters of the Gold Coast, underpinning why it is now one of the major breeding areas worldwide.
It is reported that approximately 12,000 to 15,000 humpback whales migrate to Queenslandâ€™s coastline every breeding season.
Brisbane whale watching enthusiasts have a high chance of spotting a pregnant whale while on board Whales in Paradise as their pregnancy last from 11 to 13 months.
Unfortunately, the Whales in Paradise crew has never seen the birth of the humpback whale. In fact, no one has ever documented a birth worldwide. This has given evidence to the assumption that calves are not actually born on or near the Gold Coast and Brisbane breeding grounds.
As with all mammals, copulation in humpbacks involves internal fertilization, but intromission has never been observed in the Gold Coast.
The genitals of both sexes of the humpback whale are nearly identical in appearance. Apart from the female having a large bump know as the hemispherical lobe at the tail end of the genital slit and the distance between the anus and genital slit varying between the sexes.
The Humpback whales the frequent the waters of the Gold Coast and Brisbane have two types of parasites: one that attaches itself to their skin (such as barnacles) and one which burrow beneath their skin infesting their internal organs and cavities (flatworms and roundworms).
Instead of teeth, the Humpback whale has 300 to 400 strips of baleen hanging from its mouth. This baleen is used as a filter for their food from the ocean.
The main menu preferences for a Humpback whale are krill and small-schooling fish such as herring, capelin, sand lace and mackerel.
When eating, a Humpback whale can open its mouth up to four times its normal size, disconnecting their lower jaw more than 90 degrees a spectacular vision for some lucky Gold Coast whale watchers that may see a Humpback Whale opportunistically feed.
When a humpback whale takes a breath, everyone on board Whales in Paradise will see its force as a watery mist is blast into the air from the whales blow hole at up to more than 600km per hour.
Humpback whales will only surface for a fresh breath of air when they need to as they do not have a voluntary breathing reflex.
Humpback whales are distant cousins of the hippopotamus with their family tree going back 60 million years.
The humpback received its name from its magnificent habit of arching its back above the water before it diving back into the crystal blue waters of the Gold Coast.
Whales in Paradise usually sight humpback whales that are 12 to 15 meters in length with the females being an average 1 to 1.5 meters longer than the males.