Whale Mothers & Calves


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.

Female whales will never give birth to more than one calf at a time because of the huge demand pregnancy and nursing puts on the ocean's resources.

After giving birth for two consecutive years, a female whale will usually take a year off motherhood.  However, Whales in Paradise reports have also shown that a small number of female whales will not take this well-needed rest as they have been observed with newborn calves on this third year.

Just like humans, the overall ratio of a calf being a male or female is equal.

A newborn calf measures a whopping 3.5 to 4.5 meters in length and weighs in approximately one to a half ton – an adorable sight for anyone whale watching on the Gold Coast!

These adorable calves do not stay this size for very long as they grow up to 10 meters within their first year! Whale watchers on board Whales in Paradise Gold Coast Whale Watching passengers will have a lot of trouble recognizing them with that huge growth spurt.

Humpback calves naturally know to swim to the surface to breath however, diving and controlling their buoyancy are skills that only a mother can teach.

Whale watching Gold Coast is usually abundant with playful claves, as they need to surface every three to four minutes, while their mothers will stay underwater for at least twice as long.

A calf's tongue is not strong enough to suckle milk from its mother. The mother instead has to squirt milk directly into its mouth.

Compared to our low-fat milk, a humpback mother's milk contains up to 40 percent fat - no wonder they grow so fast.

Their ability to grow so fast can also be blamed on their tremendous appetite as a newborn calf will drink up to 400 liters of milk a day.

Whale watchers on the Gold Coast and Brisbane will hardly ever see mothers with newborn calves group together. The reason behind this behavior comes down to the fact that the mothers do not want to accidentally give their milk to the wrong calf.

In preparation for their return trip to the beautiful coastline of the Gold Coast, a mother will begin weaning their calf towards the end of their first feeding season in the Antarctic waters.

As seen in Whales in Paradise's gallery on www.whalesinparadise.com.au, humpback calves have much smaller mouths than their parents. Despite this, a strong tail is the more desired trait as they have to start swimming immediately but will not begin eating fish until they are one and a half years old.