A killer whale breathes through a single blowhole on top of its head.The blowhole is relaxed in a closed position. To open the blowhole, a killer whale contracts the muscular flap covering the blowhole.A whale holds its breath below water.A killer whale opens its blowhole and begins to exhale just before reaching the surface of the water.At the surface, the whale quickly inhales and closes the muscular flap.A killer whale breathes air through its blowhole on top of its head.The visible spout of water that rises from a killer whale’s blowhole is not coming from the lungs, which (like ours) do not tolerate water.Water that is on top of the blowhole when the powerful exhale begins is forced up with the exhaled respiratory gases.Especially in cool air, a mist may form; it is water vapor condensing as the respiratory gases expand in the open air.When a whale breathes, the visible blow that appears to be
water is really water vapor condensing in the respiratory
gases as they expand in the cooler ambient air.
In comparison to a human, a killer whale can hold its breath longer and exchange more lung air with each breath.The resting respiratory rate of killer whales at SeaWorld is about three to seven breaths every five minutes
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