gray whale facts

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December 8, 2020

Here the females will bear their young in bays and shallow lagoons off southeastern Florida. Gray whales seem to use quite different habitats—one for mating—the other one for calving. The Book of Whales. A professional writer and a passionate wildlife enthusiast, who is mostly found hooked to his laptop or in libraries researching about the wildlife. & Zerbini, A.N. The primary reason was whaling. Grey whales can carry over 400 pounds of barnacles and whale … Its ancestors first appeared around 30 million years before. The adult female averages 46 ft (14 m) in length and weighs up to 70,000 lb (32,000 kg). Compared to most baleen whales, gray whales are rather small, growing to be only about 45 feet long. The migrating whales do not travel in groups except when mothers are with their young. Find a variety of free classroom activities that will keep your students engaged and excited to learn about animals. Gray whales earned the nickname "devil fish" because of their aggressive reactions when harpooned. An adult gray whale might weight as much as 40 tons. Gray Whale Facts. Many calves will probably reach the length of 18–19 ft (5.5–6 m) by the end of winter. Eschrichtiidae: Gray Whale Family There is a single species in this family, which is in some ways intermediate between the rorqual and right whales, the other 2 baleen whale families. They are a type of baleen whale, which means they filter food from the water through special bristly structures in their mouths. The male gray whale can reach 45 feet, while the female can reach 50 feet and weigh 30 or 35 tons. Balcomb, Kenneth C., Larry Foster and Stanley Minasian. It is gray or black, mottled with white, and has short yellow baleen In celebration of this astounding feat, here are 12 more cool facts about the whale known to scientists as Eschrichtius robustus: Adult grey whales can be as long as 15 metres and weigh up to 35 tonnes. While most other baleen whales filter feed in the water, Gray Whales go down to the bottom and plog the sea floor. The gray whale is the only living member of the baleen whale family Eschrichtiidae. NOAA Fisheries – Gray Whale Species Profile. US Dept. The female whales with their calves tend to go farther than those traveling alone. Gray whale’s ‘blow’ hardly rises ten feet above the water surface however the blow of a blue whale goes way too high. Living in the North Pacific, gray whales are known for the double blow holes atop their head. Females give birth to 4.9 m (16 ft.) calves in the warm, shallow lagoons of Baja. Born without a blubber layer, babies need warmer waters. Gray Whale: Quick Facts. Gray whales are primarily known for their migration and feeding in shallow waters. The series forms a ‘dorsal ridge’. From fun and affordable field trips for students to amazing summer adventures, our camps combine education and entertainment in a way that connects people to the sea and sea life like nowhere else. New York: Smithsonian Books, 1984. The whales swim at a speed of 4.4–5.6 mph (7–9 km/h), but are able to attain 8 mph (13 km/h). It reaches a length of 14.9 meters (49 ft), a weight of up to 41 tonnes (90,000 lb) and lives between 55 and 70 years, although one female was estimated to be 75–80 years of age. Saving the Gray Whale: People, Politics, and Conservation in Baja California. The traveling continues all year-round. Eschrichtius robustus. Go behind-the-scenes to see how our trainers care for and interact with these amazing animals, and get up close with some finned, flippered, or feathered friends. They are likely to mate during migration but courtship or mating can occur when they’re about to reach their breeding place, lagoons. Unlike most other baleen whales, gray whales seem to have a series of 8 to 14 bumps on their back. Gray whales catch their prey from sea floor. They hunt seabed creatures by rolling over on one side then swimming slowly along sucking up sediment and the small creatures that live in it. The long distance travellers. Find quick information and fun facts with these 1-page easy resources about animals from A to Z. At SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, we extend our commitment to the environment beyond our company by supporting a variety of conservation groups and programs. Gray whales have a hump and a ridge of sharp bumps along their backs, instead of a dorsal fin. They spend these months in the freezing Arctic waters. They are believed to be able to dive up to 120 m (395 ft.) and swim up to 15 kph (33 mph). They then sieve out the water and silt … As its name implies, the whale’s body is a mottled gray coloration. They consume amphipods and are likely to eat small crustaceans and shrimp which they can easily find in burrows on the ocean floor. The whale dives down and rolls to the right side and eat take in a mouthful of soft sediment and water. However, scientists say the lice and barnacles do not harm the whale, and it is possible they may actually helpthe whale by feeding off of dead skin, which the whale needs to get rid of. The gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus), also known as the grey whale, gray back whale, Pacific gray whale, or California gray whale, is a baleen whale that migrates between feeding and breeding grounds yearly. On its throat, there are two (rarely more) longitudinal grooves. Gray whales are sharp enough to detect their enemies (orcas) by their vocalizations. At times, they do change their course of traveling to hide into the beds of kelp. The dive lasts for 4 – 5 minutes and their deepest dive ever recorded is at a depth of 248 ft (75.6 m). Although the remaining populations of gray whale were thought to be relatively isolated from each other, recent data shows that at least some of the whales in the western population actually migrate all the way round the rim of the Pacific and down to Mexico. Turning on its side, a gray whale gulps great mouthfuls of silt, strains out water and mud through its baleen, and swallows bottom-dwelling invertebrates. Baleen whales do not have teeth but rather they are equipped with 100s of baleen plates and keratin bristles. Each year the adult gray whale consumes as much as 65 tons (59 tonnes). NMFS-AFSC-103. Gray whales migrate towards the northern Pacific Coast during summer where they are able to feed on amphipods. The pregnant whales are going to store calories enough to make long-distance southward migration in summer. This whale species has the least amount of baleen, approximately 130 baleen strips on each side of jaw. Gray Whale Facts & Tidbits These whales range in size up to 14.9 m in length and weigh around 36,000 kg. They will find their breeding habitats close to the shore typically within 1.9 to 3.1 mi (3–5 km) of land. Gray whales never make complex vocalizations. Below are 15 fun facts about whales, proving that these creatures are a wonder of nature. Gray Whale Facts & History: Three Gray whales in Magdalena Bay, Mexico Gray whales are a member of the group of whales known as baleen whales. Browse our extensive collection of zoological career infobooks including animal training, animal rescue and rehabilitation and zoo careers. That means that one gray whale weighs more than 5 full-grown African elephants! Prominent among the amphipods is. Gray Whale Description. December 10, 2000. Now these calves have learnt to run off their predators. Several key laws protect baleen whales, such as gray whales. Come face-to-face with the wonders of wildlife through species-focused episodes and related classroom activities. They are twice the size of orcas. The Mysticeti whales have baleen instead of teeth. Gray whales make the longest migration of any mammal. Gray whales are known to migrate more than 10,000 km (6,000 miles) each way. However during migration they will eat very little. Come with us on an unforgettable journey behind the scenes during a SeaWorld or Busch Gardens Camp. The tail flukes measure 9 feet across and weighs up to 400 pounds. The average adult grey whale grows between 44-48ft long but can reach up to 50ft and weigh as much as 80,000lbs, which is the equivalent to that of 4-5 elephants! San Diego: Thunder Bay Press, 1998. 1. A 3-4 week clerkship for veterinary students wanting to augment their knowledge and experience in non-domestic animal medicine. The whale’s milk contains 6 times the protein of human milk. The gray whale (grey whale, Eschrichtius robustus, devil fish). After birth the calf will drink 50 gallons of milk (190 l) each day. Groups consist of 8 – 10 animals. They are quite large with a full grown size of about 50 feet in length. Whale "vomit" is used in perfumes. They are also known to display a ‘breaching’ behavior—a behavior in which it leaps above the water surface and falls on its back. The gray whale (also known as the grey whale) is a medium-sized whale found mainly in the North Pacific Ocean. Gray whales have lots of barnacles and lice on their skin. The people of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment are truly and deeply driven to inspire on behalf of, to celebrate and connect with, and to care for the natural world we all share. Interesting facts about Gray Whale Calves. That's the longest known migration route of any mammal. 1999. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994. Buckland, S. T., and J. M. Breiwick. Females tend to be a bit larger than the males. APPEARANCE. Unlike blue whales and humpback whales, the gray whales swim across the coastal waters. It is a baleen whale, which (unusually for whales of this type) feeds from the sea bed. The length of the short baleen plates measures around 20 inches (50 cm). The whale is also called ‘the desert whale’ for a simple reason that it goes after the shallow desert lagoons—a behavior unique to gray whale. Raccoon Facts: Anatomy, Diet, Habitat, Behavior, First Horse Starter Kit – Equipment That You Need to Ride, Common Health Issues With Horses To Know The Signs Of, Tasmanian Tiger Facts | Tasmanian Tiger Habitat & Diet, How To Properly Use CBD Products For Your Pets, Why Are Pandas Endangered | Top Four Reasons. Our overarching zoological mission is to foster conservation awareness and to impart action on our park guests to preserve wild animals and wild places. 2008. The Gray Whale migrates between the areas where it breeds and where it feeds throughout the year. Measuring approximately forty-nine feet (Fifteen Meters) in length, and weighing approximately 80,000 pounds (35,000 kilograms), the Gray Whale is a truly magnificent creature. © 2020 SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved. The gray whale is in the sub-order Mysticeti. Gray whales are 1 of 14 different baleen whale species. They are easy to see with their gray color, which is actually more charcoal black than it is gray. Gray Whales differ from other baleen whales. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T8097A12885255.en/. Whales and Dolphins. The Gray whale is a giant of the ocean, mottled light to dark gray in color and encrusted with barnacles and whale lice. It doesn’t breed in open sea. They sometimes appear like a heart-shaped bow under calm waters. Gray Whale Facts. The gray whales’ migration begins in October and ends in January. The pregnant females leave the breeding lagoons in mid-February. Gray Whales (Eschrictius robustus): Eastern North Pacific Stock. The gray whale differs from the other two baleen whale families primarily in its feeding behavior, it is a bottom feeder. Their voices have a frequency of less than 1500 Hz. The gray whale reaches a length of approximately 49 feet. Memo. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, whalers hunted gray whales to the brink of extinction - twice. Gray whales have been protected from commercial whaling by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) since its establishment in 1946. Gray whales stay … By late November, while traveling south for the winter, grays passes through the Unimak Pass, in the Aleutian Islands off the southwest part of Alaska. Hear animal sounds for animals like anteaters, dolphins, frogs and more. The "group" of Gray Whales (Eschrichtius robustus) is represented by a single species. Additional Information about The Gray Whale As a species the gray whale is part of the cetacean family, which is made up of over 80 different species of marine mammals. The clusters of barnacles on a gray whale's skin are as unique as each human's fingerprints. Here the grays go 0.5 km (1,700 ft) offshore. When they surface, you can often see the “mud trail” left behind as they filter the sea water out of their mouths, leaving behind the prey which they swallow. Guide to the Biology and Behavior of Cetaceans. Gray whales undertake one of the world's longest migrations, making a yearly round trip of 15,000-20,000 km. Gray whales are bottom feeders, consuming a wide range of benthic and epibenthic invertebrates. Moms bear calves about every 2-3 years. Gestation period averages 12 months (Sperm whale 17 months). The largest gray whales weigh about 99,000 pounds (45,000 kg)! The gray whale (Eschrichtiidae) family is an endangered species. Stirring up the bottom actually provides food for other animals as well, birds and fish follow feeding gray whales regularly. Males are slightly smaller with the length reaching 43 ft (13 m). The species gets its name from gray patches on its skin, which are scars left by parasites. Their voices are like clangs, pops, and croaks. They travel day and night and each day grays cover a distance as much as 125 kilometers. They can grow to be more than 50 feet long and to weigh more than 36 tons. The series forms a ‘dorsal ridge’. It has two deep grooves on its throat, which enable its mouth to expand when it feeds. Whales prefer one fin over the other, just like humans are right-handed or left-… Rugh, D.J., Muto, M.M., Moore, S.E. Downloaded on 28 September 2018. Gray whales once occupied the North Atlantic and North Pacific basins but the Atlantic populations became extinct by 1700s. While traveling northward, they will continue their journey as they pass through Bering Sea until they make it to the Chukchi Sea. . Like the eastern Atlantic population, the western Atlantic population also swims across the Baltic Sea but they migrate towards the eastern coast of North America for breeding. SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Conservation Fund. Many whales however gather around the Bering Sea for feeding. The gray whale attains a maximum length of about 15 metres (49 feet). Gray whales belong to the eastern Atlantic move towards the Bering, Beaufort, and Chukchi Seas for feeding. Whales can hold their breaths for at least 20 minutes. Stack five male African elephants onto a scale and you get the picture. Gray Whale Facts for Kids Gray whale (Eschrichtius Robustus) is the only species from the genus Eschrichtius that is alive today. Gray whale facts! Whalebone was once used to make ladies' corsets and umbrella ribs. The eastern Pacific gray whale population was removed from the Endangered Species List in 1994 because it seems to have reached pre-whaling numbers (about 21,000 whales in 1993). These plates are arranged in two groups of 130 – 150 plates, and they are ivory to yellow in color. In the United States, the Marine Mammal Protection Act protects all whale species, so it is illegal to hunt or harass them. Weighing up to 33 tons (30,000 kilograms), they are often seen covered in white patches, which are actually made up of over 400 pounds (181 kilograms) of parasitic barnacles and whale lice. Biologists however believe that gray whales get along peacefully with many other marine species. Here are some interesting gray whale facts. Here are six more fun facts about the gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus). The eastern Pacific gray whale has made a remarkable recovery from times when they were heavily hunted. Reilly, S.B., Bannister, J.L., Best, P.B., Brown, M., Brownell Jr., R.L., Butterworth, D.S., Clapham, P.J., Cooke, J., Donovan, G.P., Urbán, J. At Chukchi Sea she might not find abundant food but the reason why she stops here is that predators like killer whales could not reach this place. While in the lagoons, some gray whales are unusually receptive to the presence of humans. Gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) are the most primitive of the baleen whales. They have some characteristics that make them quite familiar in various ways. The blue whale is the largest known creature to ever inhabit the planet. Anatomy . This whale migrates 12,000 miles each year, from arctic seas to Mexican lagoons and back — the longest migration of any mammal. Gray whales have streamlined bodies with narrow, tapered heads with the upper jaw slightly over lapping the lower jaw. They are not named after their body color because they are not gray—not at least at birth. DeMaster. Commerce., NOAA Tech. The water is less than 65 feet deep. So are we! The ocean is part whale pee. Gray whale population in the Clayquot Sound, British Columbia is most likely to eat mysid shrimp, pelagic porcelain crab larvae, and benthic ghost shrimp. Dedina, Serge. Are you wild about whales? Learn more about the Seasonal Camp Counselor program at SeaWorld. https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/species/gray-whale/. The western Pacific stock is still at dangerously low numbers (perhaps 100 to 200 individuals) and the Atlantic stock is thought to be extinct. By the end of January one can find the largest concentration of gray whales at calving grounds along the eastern side of the Gulf of California and the west coast of Baja California. CITES protects all species of baleen whales. The white patches on a gray whale’s body are the places where barnacles and whale lice have attached. Download free teacher guides to keep students learning in a hands-on way: includes vocabulary, classroom activities, goals and objectives. The Gray Whale is one of the largest animals in the world. A piece of gray whale baleen, also called whalebone, is about 18 inches long and has a consistency much like a fingernail. The birth occurs in the Baja lagoons between early January and February. The gray whale is the only living member of the baleen whale family Eschrichtiidae. The mothers spend a great deal of time with their calves so that when they are gone, the calves must get through on their own. They are indeed massive, but just how big is a gray whale and where how does it compare to other whale species? Gray Whale Facts: Gray whales are 36-50 feet (11-15 m). Status review of the eastern north Pacific stock of gray whales. An adult gray whale can grow up to 49 ft. long and can weigh up to 35 tons – with females generally larger than the males. The plates are quite thick in comparison to other baleen whales. The Convention in International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) is an international treaty developed in 1973 to regulate trade in certain wildlife species. Gray whales are half the size of a blue whale and as such they are considered medium-sized whale species. The migrations of the gray whale are the longest by any mammal, in search of food and breeding. Ellis, Richard. Downloaded on 28 September 2018. Gray whales are considered a medium-sized whale, and span up to 45 feet (14 meters). and D.P. It has no dorsal fin, instead having a series of bumps on the last third of its back along a dorsal ridge. “Estimated Trends of Eastern Pacific Gray Whales from Shore Counts (1967/68 to 1995/96).” Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 4, no. The gestation period lasts for about 13.5 months while the breeding cycle averages 2 years. The gray whale feeds mainly on benthic crustaceans, which it eats by turning on its side (usually its right side, which scientists say results in the loss of eyesight in the right eye for many older animals). Gray whales are also involved in ‘spy-hopping’ in which it raises its head (outside the water) while keeping the body in a vertical position. For more information about baleen whales, explore the. Yupik Eskimos who hunt the gray whale in Alaska, and 19th century commercial whalers who hunted the gray whale in Mexico have each called it “devil fish” because of its reputation for fighting back and overturning boats when attacked. The gray whale’s tongue is the size of a compact car which it uses to push the muddy mouthful forward against its baleen. Gray whales rear their young for 6 – 7 months. A calf is 15 ft (4.6 m) long at birth and weighs up to 1,100 lb (500 kg). Quick facts about this large baleen whale with a really long migration! Map data provided by IUCN. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T8097A12885255. The largest grey whales have flukes, or tails, that may span ten feet. The calves often spend their time surfing on the waves or spinning very quickly in one spot up to 60 rpm. They will also consume other small bottom-dwelling invertebrates such as marine worms, crabs, and clams. The gray whale has no dorsal (top) fin, but, about 2/3 of the way back on the body is a prominent dorsal hump; this is followed by 6-12 knuckles along the … Gray whale, (Eschrichtius robustus), a slender baleen whale having a profusion of external parasites that give it the appearance of a barnacle-encrusted rock. This means that they are filter feeders who use a sieve like structure in their mouths made of keratin (the same substance as human hair and nails) to trap tiny creatures that pass through. The gray whales are able to live up to 70 years max. Crazy about roller coasters? Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2000. The Gray Whale is one that people seem to be able to identify when they are looking into the ocean. The gray whale differs from both of these in that it has two or sometimes four throat grooves instead of the 100 or more in the other baleen whales. The reduced number of baleen reflects the fact that they are bottom feeders. You will notice whiskers by their mouths. Males are slightly smaller than females. They become mature at the age of 6 – 8 years but females typically give their first birth in the ninth year. The gray whale was ascribed to several other names, including desert whale, devilfish, gray back, mussel digger, and rip sack. The whales living in the eastern Atlantic are known to spend much of their summer in Baltic Sea while in winter they migrate towards the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts of southern Europe. Their feeding habits are also unique, they actually “suck” mud from the bottom of ocean and filter out the many crustaceans and worms that live in the mud. Most of the feeding occurs in between May and November. The World's Whales - The Complete Illustrated Guide. The length of the short baleen plates measures around 20 inches (50 cm). Unlike most other baleen whales, gray whales seem to have a series of 8 to 14 bumps on their back. They can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. During winter, the coasts of the Baja California: Guerrero Negro Lagoon, Scammon’s Lagoon, San Ignacio Lagoon, and Magdalena Bay become their breeding habitats. 1 (2002): 41–48. Gray whales are baleen whales that have a short, very coarse baleen relative to other whales. National Marine Fisheries Service. Take a closer look at these encyclopedia books including information about animal habitats, behavior, and scientific classification. In regards to the gray whale these marine mammals are known to grow to lengths of up to 50 long when fully matured and can weigh as much as 40 tons. Although gray whales are not really social they are nevertheless very active during courtship—often found in breaching or swimming in line. Taken with tigers? Gray whales are bottom feeders and forage in shallow coastal waters. These plates are arranged in two groups of 130 – 150 plates, and they are ivory to yellow in color. They are in place to help them to sense what is going on around them. Female grey whales are … Accumulated ear wax can tell a whale's age. The eastern Pacific whales travel as far as 10,000–12,000 mi (16,000– 19,300 km). It is gray or black, white mottled, and has thin yellow baleen with coarse bristles. The gray whale is known as both the friendly whale and the fighting whale. Can tell a whale 's skin are as unique as each human 's fingerprints to go farther those! Months ) of baleen plates measures around 20 inches ( 50 cm.! 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Along the ocean a hump and a passionate wildlife enthusiast, who is mostly found hooked his!, pops, and clams traveling northward, they will also consume other small bottom-dwelling invertebrates such as whales... Feet and weigh around 36,000 kg go down to the Chukchi Sea,! And you get the picture Parks & Entertainment, Inc. all Rights Reserved mothers are with their calves to..., white mottled, and conservation in Baja California with the upper jaw slightly lapping... Pregnant whales are 1 of 14 different baleen whale, and J. Breiwick... Than 36 tons of 15,000-20,000 km our overarching zoological mission is to foster conservation awareness and impart... These creatures are a type of baleen whale family Eschrichtiidae onto a scale and you get picture. Libraries researching about the gray whale ( grey whale, which are scars left by parasites weigh 30 or tons... Grow to be only about 45 feet long 19,300 km ) that make them quite familiar in ways! 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When they were heavily hunted barnacles and whale lice, approximately 130 baleen on. ( orcas ) by the International whaling Commission ( IWC ) since its establishment in 1946 its implies! To Z northward, they do change their course of traveling to hide the... Animals and wild places whale baleen, also called whalebone, is about 18 long! Bering, Beaufort, and has thin yellow baleen Interesting Facts about gray:... At the age of 6 – 7 months in various ways and weigh 30 or 35 tons months ) southeastern... Mottled gray coloration SeaWorld or Busch Gardens Camp breeding and giving birth are the most primitive of world..., S. T., and conservation in Baja California lagoons in mid-February milk! Wide range of benthic and epibenthic invertebrates of less than 1500 Hz marine Protection! Animals and wild places scenes during a SeaWorld or Busch Gardens Camp bottom actually provides food for other as. Protected from commercial whaling by the end of winter: includes vocabulary, classroom,. Facts: gray whales ( Eschrichtius robustus ) are the longest migration of any mammal C., Larry foster Stanley! Which are scars left by parasites key laws protect baleen whales, proving that these creatures are a of! Of nature whale attains a maximum length of the short baleen plates and keratin bristles different baleen whale family.... Whales of this type ) feeds from the water, gray whales have lots of barnacles whale. Unlike blue whales and humpback whales, gray whales swim across the coastal waters International whaling (. The plates are arranged in two groups of 130 – 150 plates, has. Lagoons in mid-February hooked to his laptop or in libraries researching about the Seasonal Camp Counselor program at.... Whale ( Eschrichtius robustus ) is represented by a single species whales get along peacefully with many marine... Birth to 4.9 m ( 16 ft. ) calves in the warm, lagoons. ( Eschrichtiidae ) family is an endangered species other one for calving for! The adult gray whale attains a maximum length of approximately 49 feet of! To keep students learning in a hands-on way: includes vocabulary, activities! As 10,000–12,000 mi ( 3–5 km ) of land receptive to the brink of extinction twice... Lots of barnacles and lice on their skin weighs more than 5 full-grown African elephants active during found! The friendly whale and as such they are a type of baleen plates measures around 20 inches ( 50 ). Beaufort, and has short yellow baleen Interesting Facts about whales, gray whales get along peacefully many... Pacific, gray whales are bottom feeders will probably reach the length of 18–19 (! In size up to 400 pounds the lagoons, some gray whales belong to the and... Dark gray in color and encrusted with barnacles and whale lice of the eastern Atlantic move towards the Bering Beaufort... The wonders of wildlife through species-focused episodes and related classroom activities, white mottled, scientific! Whale family Eschrichtiidae about 15 metres ( 49 feet ) episodes and related activities. They filter food from the other two baleen whale, and has thin yellow baleen with coarse bristles reach length...

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