Look! Out in the water! It’s some sort of moving whale thing! What is it, exactly? Here are some tips to identify it. Remember, it’s better to get a good description than to put a name to what you found. You can always look up the name later.

Cetacean Sighting Tips

Estimate its size. You can use your boat or something of known size for comparison.

Look for its dorsal fin. Does it have one? If so, what does it look like?

Note its general appearance. What is the general body shape and colour?

Watch what it’s doing. Some behaviours are unique to certain types of cetaceans. Look to see if your mystery animal is sticking its tail up in the air, splashing around a lot, or stalking some hapless sea lion.

After watching the video, put your skills to the test with our "Whale Detectives" game.
Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre

© Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre 2006. All rights reserved.

Teachers' Centre Home Page | Find Learning Resources & Lesson Plans