Sri Lanka, surrounded by the sea, has a rich diversity of marine habitats, each with its own community of sea creatures. Although the oceans are vast and many seem infinite, we are now causing enough damage for its effects to be felt. Sri Lanka has 1700km of coastline, which provides a little-explored but extensive series of habitats – from sandy beaches to rock pools.
Whales are the world’s largest warm-blooded marine mammals, which are of the order Cetacea. They breathe air, give birth to live offspring and are found in all oceans of the world, making whale watching holidays possible! Whales are divided into two classes, the Odontoceti (toothed whales) and Mysticeti (baleen whales). A sieve-like structure called baleen is observed in the mouths of Baleen whales, along with two external blowholes. Toothed whales possess teeth and only one external blowhole, though internally they have two nasal passages. Five species of baleen whales and twenty-one species of toothed whales have been recorded in the waters of Sri Lanka.