Do Humpback Whales Have Teeth: Detailed Facts Around It


Do Humpback Whales Have Teeth: Detailed Facts Around It

Whales are divided into two sub-divisions- baleen (Mysticetes) and toothed (Odontocetes). While toothed whales have teeth, some teeth can be invisible. Baleen whales have baleen plated instead of teeth.

Baleen whales are the largest whales, and humpback whales are baleen whales. It means that humpback whales do not possess teeth. Instead, they possess baleen plates that resemble a comb. 

Key Takeaways:

Humpback Whale ClassificationHumpback whales belong to the baleen whale sub-division, which means they lack traditional teeth and have baleen plates for filter feeding.
Baleen PlatesBaleen plates in humpback whales are made of keratin and grow from the upper jaw. They act as a sieve, allowing the whales to filter small marine organisms.
Presence of TeethHumpback whales do not have teeth at any stage of their life; instead, they have 270 to 400 comb-like baleen plates in place of teeth.
Teeth CharacteristicsHumpback whales do not possess sharp teeth and are not designed for preying on larger marine animals. They primarily filter plankton and small fish using baleen plates.
Interaction with HumansHumpback whales are not known to bite humans as they lack teeth. They are generally gentle and have exhibited protective behavior towards other species, such as orcas.

Baleens or whalebone is made of keratin and grows from the upper jaw in the baleen whales. This plate act as a sieve to filter small schooling fish or zooplankton

This post has specifically focused on humpback whales and will investigate if these whales have teeth. We will also shed light on other facts associated with the subject matter. 

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Do all humpback whales have teeth?

Humpback whales are charismatic and acrobatic. It’s a sight to behold as they breach the ocean’s surface.

Humpback whales are baleen whales. Hence, none of them possess any teeth. These whales are essentially filter feeders and use their baleen plates to gulp in huge gallons of water to sieve plankton, krill, and the small school of fish. 

It’s also worth noting that these whales have 270 to 400 comb-like fringes overlapping plates or baleens hanging down from each side of the upper jaw in place of teeth. Their baleen plates are black and measure approximately 30 inches in length.

Image Credit: Humpback whale feeding by Arturo de Frias Marques (CC BY-SA 4.0) from Wikimedia

What kind of teeth do humpback whales have?

Although counted among the largest whale species, humpback whales are versatile and gentle. So what kind of teeth do they possess?

Humpback whales are baleen whales and do not possess any (kind) of teeth. Instead, they are filter feeders and have adapted themselves in such a way that they grow baleen plates to filter ocean food out of the water. 

Do humpback whales have sharp teeth?

Since humpback whales are huge, it might intrigue us to know if they have sharp teeth that match their look?

Although carnivorous, humpback whales do not possess any sharp teeth. As a result, they do not feed on larger whale prey and use their baleen plates that filter plankton and the school of small fish.

A humpback whale has how many teeth?

All whales are carnivorous, but not all of them possess teeth. So, how many teeth do humpback whales possess?

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Humpback whales do not possess any teeth. Instead, they possess around  270 to 400 baleens that grow and hang from their upper jaws in the place of teeth. 

Do humpback whales have baleen plates?

Humpback whales are called the acrobats of the ocean. They are fascinating, and something is intriguing about their feeding style.

Baleen plates are found on humpback whales. They feed on small, almost microscopic ocean creatures filtered through these plates.

Will a humpback whale bite a human?

Image Credit: A humpback whale with her calf by
National Marine Sanctuaries
(CC BY 2.0) from Wikimedia

Humpback whales are humongous as compared to humans. They look almost larger than life. So, it might make us think if they will ever attack or can attack humans?

There has never been any record that proves that humpback whales have ever eaten a human. They do not possess any teeth. Hence, they are incapable of biting any creature. 

On the contrary, humpback whales are known for their altruistic behavior. In other words, these whales have been found to defend their calves and other species from the attacks of infamous orcas. 

But why do they do that? It is still a mystery. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do Humpback Whales Have Teeth?

Humpback whales are baleen whales, which means they don’t have teeth. Instead, they have baleen plates in their mouths used for filter feeding.

2. What are Humpback Whale Teeth Like?

Humpback whales don’t have traditional teeth. Instead, they possess baleen plates made of keratin, similar to human nails, which are used for filtering prey from the water.

3. How Many Teeth Do Humpback Whales Have?

Humpback whales have zero teeth. They rely exclusively on their baleen plates to capture and filter small marine organisms from the water.

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4. Does a Humpback Whale Have Teeth at Any Stage of Their Life?

No, humpback whales are born without teeth, and they do not develop teeth at any stage of their life. Their feeding strategy is entirely based on their baleen plates.

5. What Is the Size of a Humpback Whale?

Humpback whales are known for their impressive size, reaching lengths of 40 to 50 feet (12 to 15 meters) and weighing between 25 to 40 tons on average. Their large size is well-suited for their filter-feeding habits, as they consume significant quantities of food-rich water.


So, according to our investigation, humpback whales are baleen whales. As a result, they don’t have any teeth. Instead, they feed on small ocean creatures with their baleen plates, which are almost microscopic. Humpback whales are massive creatures that require massive amounts of food daily to survive. As a result, instead of teeth, they’ve developed baleens to filter in tons of plankton, krill, and smaller fish every day.

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