Cetaceans (Whales, Dolphins, and Porpoise)

Whales, dolphins and porpoise are marine mammals that are part of the taxonomic order called cetaceans, which has 81 known species. The order is divided into baleen whales of the suborder Mysticeti, and toothed whales, suborder Odontoceti. Since cetaceans are mammals, they need air to breathe. They come to the water's surface to exhale carbon dioxide and inhale a fresh supply of air. Cetaceans have their nostrils, called blowholes, on the tops of their heads, to make breathing quicker. Muscles close the blowhole as a whale dives. When the whale surfaces, the muscles open the blowhole and stale air comes out from the lungs. This warm air vaporizes as it meets the cold air outside, creating a “blow” or “spout” that people use to locate cetaceans.

To report a dead, injured or stranded marine mammal, please call: 1-866-767-6114 
For law enforcement, harassments,  and other violations, please call:  1-800-853-1964

For entangled marine mammals, please call: 1-877-SOS-WHALe or 1-877-767-9425
or hail the U.S. Coast Guard on VHF Ch. 16
To report derelict gear, please call: 1-855-542-3935


Safe Whale Viewing