How long can whales hold their breath?
The longest ever recorded dive by a whale was made by a Cuvier's beaked whale. It lasted 222 minutes and broke the record for diving mammals. Other whales can also hold their breath for a very long time. A sperm whale can spend around 90 minutes hunting underwater before it has to come back to the surface to breathe. In 1969, a male sperm whale was killed off the coast of South Africa after surfacing from a dive lasting 117 minutes.
Whales' lungs are particularly efficient at taking up oxygen when they breathe air in and out through their blowholes at the water's surface. Special adaptations help them hold their breath for a long time.
How can whales hold their breath for so long?