I’ve always been fascinated by dolphins and whales. When I was nine I tried to teach myself how to speak humpback whale by listening to a plastic record of their amazing song. Strange but true! The record came attached to a copy of National Geographic magazine and it was one of my prized possessions.
Every day after school I’d shut myself in my room and wail and moan like a humpback. My mum used to rush into my room, thinking I was sick. If you’ve ever heard a humpback whale singing you’ll know what I mean.
There are lots of dolphins in the waters around Ireland, especially the west coast and I’ve been lucky to see them on many occasions. I’ve seen whales too, in both Ireland and New Zealand.
I’ve always wanted to write a book featuring whales or dolphins, so when I started writing The Songbird Café Girls series, set on a small island off West Cork, I knew it was time to unleash my passion for sea mammals.
I had so much fun researching Aurora and the Popcorn Dolphin, book three in the Songbird series (she’s Rory for short) and I learned a lot about sea mammals along the way. I used some of my (and Rory’s) favourite dolphin and whale facts to write the quiz for you below. Do try it!
Yours in books,
Rory’s Dolphin and Whale Quiz
Question 1: What animals are whales and dolphins most closely related to?
B/ Hoofed mammals like hippos
Question 2: How far can a humpback whale’s song travel?
A/ 100 km
B/ 1,000 Km
C/ 10,000 km
Question 3: What is the largest animal that has ever lived on earth?
A/ Fin Whale
B/ Tyrannosaurus Rex
C/ Blue Whale
Question 4: Can dolphins drown?
Question 5: How do dolphins sleep?
A/ They curl up on the sea bed
B/ They float on top of the water
C/ They shut down half their brain
1/ B A lot of people answer elephants, but they are most closely related to hippos.
2/ C The sound can take 8 hours to travel this distance.
3/ C The Blue whale can weigh up to 170 tonnes or the weight of 30 African elephants. The Tyrannosaurus Rex only weighed 7 tonnes.
4/ A Like all mammals, whales and dolphins have to breathe air. Whales can stay underwater for up to 90 minutes, dolphins need to breathe every 10 or 15 minutes.
5/ C Dolphins have to be conscious to breath. This means that they cannot go into a full deep sleep, so instead they shut down half their brain – this is called unihemispheric sleeping.