Whales Sometimes Exhale Rainbows, And It's 100% Amazing
As if being wholly majestic, multi-ton marine mammals swimming with ease through the world's oceans weren't magical enough already, whales sometimes do something so fantastical it seems as if plucked from a crazy dream in which all sorts of weird and wonderful things are happening:
They exhale rainbows.
While this colorful phenomena is pretty easy to explain with a lesson on how light refracts through water like a prism, it really doesn't make it any less mesmerizing. In fact, there's a pretty good chance that no other animal on earth can produce rainbows simply by breathing.
When whales surface to breathe, air passes in and out of their blowholes like an explosion, sending up tall clouds of vapor along with it. Contrary to popular depictions, these spouts aren't ejecting water from the inside.
Some species, like blue whales, have a lung capacity of around 1320 gallons (about a thousand times more than humans) which is emptied and refilled in just a matter of seconds.
Whales are also incredibly efficient with the air they take in, using about 90 percent of the oxygen contained in each breath, allowing them to remain underwater for up to an hour.
By comparison, humans exhale about 85 percent of the oxygen back out -- and it's pretty much never accompanied by a rainbow.