||edHelper's suggested reading level:
||grades 5 to 7
||Flesch-Kincaid grade level:
||icy-cold, orcas, belugas, narwhals, clockwise, roundtrip, sperm, bowhead, lobtailing, spyhopping, fatty, tusk, region, vapor, comparison, behavior
||Whale Hall, Arctic Ocean
1 Have you ever been on a whale watching tour? Imagine it: after hours on a boat, you may grow bored and tired. Yet, as soon as you see a group of whales swimming nearby the boat, your spirit is uplifted, and you become excited. You watch these ocean giants closely. You don't want to shift your focus away for even a second, afraid that you may miss them breaching (leaping out of the water), spyhopping (poking their heads out of the water), or lobtailing (sticking their tails out of the water). In short, whale watching is an extremely rewarding and unforgettable experience! So, let's learn about whales!
2 Whales have streamlined bodies that resemble those of fish. Although they live in water, whales are actually mammals, not fish. Like all mammals, whales have lungs and breathe through nostrils. Whales' nostrils, called blowholes, are located on the top of their heads. When whales come to the surface, they first expel used air from their lungs and then take a deep breath of fresh air. As whales exhale, they shoot out a cloud of water vapor and stale air from their blowholes high into the sky. This is called spouting.
3 Aside from breathing through lungs, being warm-blooded and feeding young with milk are two other traits shared by every mammal species. Whales are no exception. Besides a couple of whale species that reside in rivers, most whales live in oceans. Many of them prefer icy-cold waters in the Arctic region and around Antarctica. Whales don't have hair on their bodies to keep them warm. They are nearly hairless, but they have a thick layer of fat under their skin (called blubber) to help them fight off frigid temperatures.
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