P.O. Box 269, 120 Main Street, Buzzards Bay, MA 02532-0269 PHONE: 508-743-9888 | FAX: 508-759-5477 | E-Mail: nmlc@nmlc.org
                                              Donate Now!

What is a Whale’s Spout?


Is a whale’s a fountain of water? Both whales and people use lungs and noses to breathe air. But because whales live in the water their noses and lungs work differently from yours. Whales don’t breathe as often as you do; they breathe only when they are on the surface of the ocean.

That means they have to take in and let out a lot of air quickly. Their lung muscles are strong enough to force almost all the air out at once. One breath just about empties their lungs. In contrast, one of your breaths empties only part of your lungs. When a whale comes to the surface after a dive, it breathes out the “old” air quickly, all in one breath. Because the whale empties its lungs with such force, the air travels a great distances – 10, 20, even 40 feet. And because its nose is on the top of its head, the air goes straight up. This air is usually warmer than the air just above the surface of the ocean, so the water vapor (small particles of water carried in the air) condenses.

This condensed water vapor looks like steam – the same thing happens when you “see your breath” on a cold winter day. So the “spout” you see is not a fountain of water; rather, it’s a stream of warm air being forced out of the whales lungs, aka the whale’s breath. Some whale watch guides can tell you the kind of whale that has just come to the surface, even before they see the animal, based on the height and shape of their spout.


  1. hello!,I really like your writing so much! share we keep in touch
    more approximately your article on AOL? I require an expert on this area to solve my problem.
    May be that’s you! Looking ahead to see you.

  2. Good respond in return of this query with firm arguments and telling
    everything about that.

  3. Yesterday, while I was at work, my cousin stole
    my apple ipad and tested to see if it can survive a 30 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My iPad is now destroyed and she has 83 views.

    I know this is totally off topic but I had to share it with someone!

    Visit my weblog – internet business

  4. It’s not my first time to pay a quick visit this web site, i am visiting this web page dailly and obtain fastidious facts from here

  5. Hi
    Thank you for your share!

  6. Why does a whale exhale all of its air when it reaches the surface? Why not release it while underwater and use the surface time just for inhaling?

  7. this is really good but u should have like discribed it more however amzoing lol

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>