Why do Whales Breach?

May 16, 2018 | General Information

Table of Contents
First of all, let’s define a breach. A breach is often considered to have occurred when a whale launches above the ocean’s surface with over 40% of its body completely out of the water.
Now that we know what a breach is………..why do they do it? It’s all conjecture from this point forward because in reality, no one really knows. Here are the best guesses:

Much like a bear might scratch its back on a tree or a dog might turn over on the grass and rough up its coat, the whales may breach to smash off itchy barnacles or parasites that attach themselves to the whale’s body.

Since breaching is more often observed when whales are moving together in a close knit pod it is possibly a more physical form of communication. There is no mistaking the obvious sound of and terrific ocean turbulence accompanying a big breach. Since it takes huge amounts of energy to make such a leap it is obvious that the subject whale is in good health and it may either be a play made as a sexual gesture of competence and strength or it might be a signal to a whale of the same sex that this particular whale has a significant physical prowess that it is displaying.

A third option might be that it is simply ‘fun to do’.