Beasts Of Iceland: The Minke Whale - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Beasts Of Iceland: The Minke Whale

Beasts Of Iceland: The Minke Whale

Published October 4, 2017

Hannah Jane Cohen
Photos by
Len Joh

After a trip around the Golden Circle, you—our tourist reader—might be wondering: “How the hell does any animal survive on this godforsaken mid-Atlantic rock?” It’s a fair question. With a lack of vegetation, a merciless climate, and generally inhospitable conditions, Iceland isn’t an easy place for any living creature to survive.

That said, there are a number of cool fauna in the country. So, let’s meet the…

Minke Whale

 The Minke Whale, or Balaenoptera acutorostrata, is the smallest of whales, measuring about 6 to 9 metres long and weighing around five tonnes. For reference, this is one tenth as heavy as the space station. How skinny do you feel now?

Fittingly, they are also one of the fastest whales, being able to groove at speeds of up to 34 kilometres per hour when threatened. A little math calculates that that would require a shit-ton of calories, but luckily, the Minke Whale feeds on notoriously calorically dense foods like krill, herring, and sardines. That was a joke—those fishes are the ones you eat while dieting, so the Minke Whale probably has a mean case of Binge Eating Disorder.

Moving on, the Minke Whale is also known as one of the most curious marine creatures, widely known for swimming towards fishing vessels to say “Good Morning!” to the intrepid fishermen. They are also one of the most feminist marine animals; there are numerous scientific papers discussing the promiscuity of the female Minke Whales. How’s that for crushing the cetacea-archy?

Embarrassing immigration

 While Icelanders are known to be good at killing whales, this year the country was actually forced to import Minke Whale meat after too few were hunted. With only a meager 17-carcass haul, 33 Norwegian whales were flown into the country earlier this summer purely so you tourists could have your “OMG I AM EATING A WHALE” Instagram moment. Well, we hope the likes were worth it.

 

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