With a bit of luck, we are able to observe several different behaviours in our whales during our tours and throughout the day.

One of these behaviours is the so-called lobtailing, or tail slap, during which the whales lift their tail (the flukes) out of the water and slap it forcefully back onto the surface.

There are several theories as to why whales might do this, but it surely is a form of non-vocal communication. As sound travels long distances underwater, it can be heard from afar and hence it's an efficient way of sending a message to other individuals in the vicinity.

Tail slaps can be gentle and slow, other times the flukes are moved fast and the slapping is harsh. In most cases it is repetively.

Humpback whales might slap their tails when foraging, trying to frighten the fish with loud noise that in turn results in a tightened school, making it easier for the whales to feed.

In their breeding grounds, that same behaviour might be used to attract females, as an aggressive posturing to rival males and to scare unwanted individuals away from the area.

- Sarah

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