Stirring up the bottom actually provides food for other animals as well, birds and fish follow feeding gray whales regularly. 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. Here are some interesting gray whale facts. Memo. They are likely to mate during migration but courtship or mating can occur when they’re about to reach their breeding place, lagoons. Whales and Dolphins. Rugh, D.J., Muto, M.M., Moore, S.E. The gray whale was ascribed to several other names, including desert whale, devilfish, gray back, mussel digger, and rip sack. Prominent among the amphipods is. The female whales with their calves tend to go farther than those traveling alone. Gray Whales (Eschrictius robustus): Eastern North Pacific Stock. The tail flukes measure 9 feet across and weighs up to 400 pounds. On its throat, there are two (rarely more) longitudinal grooves. The birth occurs in the Baja lagoons between early January and February. Eschrichtius robustus. 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. The long distance travellers. Most of the feeding occurs in between May and November. 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. Gray whale’s ‘blow’ hardly rises ten feet above the water surface however the blow of a blue whale goes way too high. For more information about baleen whales, explore the. © 2020 SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Gray whales migrate towards the northern Pacific Coast during summer where they are able to feed on amphipods. Compared to most baleen whales, gray whales are rather small, growing to be only about 45 feet long. December 10, 2000. The series forms a ‘dorsal ridge’. However during migration they will eat very little. The largest gray whales weigh about 99,000 pounds (45,000 kg)! Saving the Gray Whale: People, Politics, and Conservation in Baja California. The species gets its name from gray patches on its skin, which are scars left by parasites. They spend these months in the freezing Arctic waters. They will also consume other small bottom-dwelling invertebrates such as marine worms, crabs, and clams. Below are 15 fun facts about whales, proving that these creatures are a wonder of nature. The gray whale (also known as the grey whale) is a medium-sized whale found mainly in the North Pacific Ocean. Moms bear calves about every 2-3 years. The Book of Whales. At times, they do change their course of traveling to hide into the beds of kelp. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2000. The dive lasts for 4 – 5 minutes and their deepest dive ever recorded is at a depth of 248 ft (75.6 m). 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. The eastern Pacific gray whale has made a remarkable recovery from times when they were heavily hunted. Whales prefer one fin over the other, just like humans are right-handed or left-… These giant mammals breathe air through nostrils called blowholes, located on top of the head. They have some characteristics that make them quite familiar in various ways. Gray Whale Facts & Tidbits These whales range in size up to 14.9 m in length and weigh around 36,000 kg. 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. Commerce., NOAA Tech. Its ancestors first appeared around 30 million years before. 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. 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. 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. New York: Smithsonian Books, 1984. Crazy about roller coasters? They are not named after their body color because they are not gray—not at least at birth. 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. While most other baleen whales filter feed in the water, Gray Whales go down to the bottom and plog the sea floor. The plates are quite thick in comparison to other baleen whales. Downloaded on 28 September 2018. So are we! Learn more about the Seasonal Camp Counselor program at SeaWorld. Gray whales have streamlined bodies with narrow, tapered heads with the upper jaw slightly over lapping the lower jaw. The migrations of the gray whale are the longest by any mammal, in search of food and breeding. and D.P. 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 never make complex vocalizations. 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 … They are a type of baleen whale, which means they filter food from the water through special bristly structures in their mouths. 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 gray whale reaches a length of approximately 49 feet. The Convention in International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) is an international treaty developed in 1973 to regulate trade in certain wildlife species. The gray whale is in the sub-order Mysticeti. 2008. The water is less than 65 feet deep. Gray whales are known to migrate more than 10,000 km (6,000 miles) each way. Gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) are the most primitive of the baleen whales. Biologists however believe that gray whales get along peacefully with many other marine species. Balcomb, Kenneth C., Larry Foster and Stanley Minasian. 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. Dedina, Serge. A 3-4 week clerkship for veterinary students wanting to augment their knowledge and experience in non-domestic animal medicine. Whalebone was once used to make ladies' corsets and umbrella ribs. The length of the short baleen plates measures around 20 inches (50 cm). The Gray whale is a giant of the ocean, mottled light to dark gray in color and encrusted with barnacles and whale lice. . Interesting facts about Gray Whale Calves. 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. It has two deep grooves on its throat, which enable its mouth to expand when it feeds. The whale dives down and rolls to the right side and eat take in a mouthful of soft sediment and water. Stack five male African elephants onto a scale and you get the picture. The gray whale’s tongue is the size of a compact car which it uses to push the muddy mouthful forward against its baleen. They will find their breeding habitats close to the shore typically within 1.9 to 3.1 mi (3–5 km) of land. It is gray or black, mottled with white, and has short yellow baleen Gray whales are bottom feeders, consuming a wide range of benthic and epibenthic invertebrates. The eastern Pacific whales travel as far as 10,000–12,000 mi (16,000– 19,300 km). They travel day and night and each day grays cover a distance as much as 125 kilometers. The gray whale is the only living member of the baleen whale family Eschrichtiidae. They are believed to be able to dive up to 120 m (395 ft.) and swim up to 15 kph (33 mph). That means that one gray whale weighs more than 5 full-grown African elephants! They consume amphipods and are likely to eat small crustaceans and shrimp which they can easily find in burrows on the ocean floor. DeMaster. Gray whales catch their prey from sea floor. It has no dorsal fin, instead having a series of bumps on the last third of its back along a dorsal ridge. They become mature at the age of 6 – 8 years but females typically give their first birth in the ninth year. The western Pacific stock is still at dangerously low numbers (perhaps 100 to 200 individuals) and the Atlantic stock is thought to be extinct. An adult gray whale might weight as much as 40 tons. While in the lagoons, some gray whales are unusually receptive to the presence of humans. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T8097A12885255. That's the longest known migration route of any mammal. Gray Whale Facts. Gray whales make the longest migration of any mammal. Browse our extensive collection of zoological career infobooks including animal training, animal rescue and rehabilitation and zoo careers. “Estimated Trends of Eastern Pacific Gray Whales from Shore Counts (1967/68 to 1995/96).” Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 4, no. The gray whale is known as both the friendly whale and the fighting whale. Anatomy . Are you wild about whales? Find quick information and fun facts with these 1-page easy resources about animals from A to Z. NMFS-AFSC-103. Gray whales are bottom feeders and forage in shallow coastal waters. After birth the calf will drink 50 gallons of milk (190 l) each day. Each year the adult gray whale consumes as much as 65 tons (59 tonnes). 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. 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. Here are six more fun facts about the gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus). Females tend to be a bit larger than the males. Gray whales have lots of barnacles and lice on their skin. Gray whales belong to the eastern Atlantic move towards the Bering, Beaufort, and Chukchi Seas for feeding. Female grey whales are … Whales can hold their breaths for at least 20 minutes. The male gray whale can reach 45 feet, while the female can reach 50 feet and weigh 30 or 35 tons. They can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. The gray whale (Eschrichtiidae) family is an endangered species. NOAA Fisheries – Gray Whale Species Profile. The gray whale (grey whale, Eschrichtius robustus, devil fish). Buckland, S. T., and J. M. Breiwick. 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. Gray whales have been protected from commercial whaling by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) since its establishment in 1946. These plates are arranged in two groups of 130 – 150 plates, and they are ivory to yellow in color. Status review of the eastern north Pacific stock of gray whales. Take a closer look at these encyclopedia books including information about animal habitats, behavior, and scientific classification. Gray whales are half the size of a blue whale and as such they are considered medium-sized whale species. Map data provided by IUCN. Many whales however gather around the Bering Sea for feeding. Gray whales once occupied the North Atlantic and North Pacific basins but the Atlantic populations became extinct by 1700s. 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. These plates are arranged in two groups of 130 – 150 plates, and they are ivory to yellow in color. The gray whales are able to live up to 70 years max. Baleen whales do not have teeth but rather they are equipped with 100s of baleen plates and keratin bristles. The gray whales’ migration begins in October and ends in January. Gray whales stay … Gray whales have a hump and a ridge of sharp bumps along their backs, instead of a dorsal fin. Gray whale population in the Clayquot Sound, British Columbia is most likely to eat mysid shrimp, pelagic porcelain crab larvae, and benthic ghost shrimp. Gray whales are predominantly bottom feeders and forage along the ocean floor. The World's Whales - The Complete Illustrated Guide. The clusters of barnacles on a gray whale's skin are as unique as each human's fingerprints. The white patches on a gray whale’s body are the places where barnacles and whale lice have attached. During winter, the coasts of the Baja California: Guerrero Negro Lagoon, Scammon’s Lagoon, San Ignacio Lagoon, and Magdalena Bay become their breeding habitats. They are indeed massive, but just how big is a gray whale and where how does it compare to other whale species? The Gray Whale migrates between the areas where it breeds and where it feeds throughout the year. APPEARANCE. The primary reason was whaling. This whale migrates 12,000 miles each year, from arctic seas to Mexican lagoons and back — the longest migration of any mammal. 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. It doesn’t breed in open sea. Gray Whale Facts. In the United States, the Marine Mammal Protection Act protects all whale species, so it is illegal to hunt or harass them. Many calves will probably reach the length of 18–19 ft (5.5–6 m) by the end of winter. SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Conservation Fund. Gray whales are sharp enough to detect their enemies (orcas) by their vocalizations. A calf is 15 ft (4.6 m) long at birth and weighs up to 1,100 lb (500 kg). Ellis, Richard. 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. 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. 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. Gray Whale: Quick Facts. Gray whales earned the nickname "devil fish" because of their aggressive reactions when harpooned. 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. Gray whales rear their young for 6 – 7 months. 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. They sometimes appear like a heart-shaped bow under calm waters. The gray whale differs from the other two baleen whale families primarily in its feeding behavior, it is a bottom feeder. Gray whales are 1 of 14 different baleen whale species. The largest grey whales have flukes, or tails, that may span ten feet. 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). The adult female averages 46 ft (14 m) in length and weighs up to 70,000 lb (32,000 kg). 1999. The pregnant females leave the breeding lagoons in mid-February. It is gray or black, white mottled, and has thin yellow baleen with coarse bristles. Females give birth to 4.9 m (16 ft.) calves in the warm, shallow lagoons of Baja. & Zerbini, A.N. They are also known to display a ‘breaching’ behavior—a behavior in which it leaps above the water surface and falls on its back. 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. The Gray Whale is one that people seem to be able to identify when they are looking into the ocean. Unlike most other baleen whales, gray whales seem to have a series of 8 to 14 bumps on their back. The length of the short baleen plates measures around 20 inches (50 cm). Gray Whales differ from other baleen whales. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, whalers hunted gray whales to the brink of extinction - twice. 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. 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. Several key laws protect baleen whales, such as gray whales. Males are slightly smaller than females. Quick facts about this large baleen whale with a really long migration! They are in place to help them to sense what is going on around them. 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. Come face-to-face with the wonders of wildlife through species-focused episodes and related classroom activities. Hear animal sounds for animals like anteaters, dolphins, frogs and more. Whale "vomit" is used in perfumes. Download free teacher guides to keep students learning in a hands-on way: includes vocabulary, classroom activities, goals and objectives. Grey whales can carry over 400 pounds of barnacles and whale … Gray whales are considered a medium-sized whale, and span up to 45 feet (14 meters). Gray whales seem to use quite different habitats—one for mating—the other one for calving. They are twice the size of orcas. You will notice whiskers by their mouths. The blue whale is the largest known creature to ever inhabit the planet.
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