Eschrichtius robustus. The gray whale is in the sub-order Mysticeti. Males are slightly smaller than females. Gray whales are sharp enough to detect their enemies (orcas) by their vocalizations. and D.P. The Convention in International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) is an international treaty developed in 1973 to regulate trade in certain wildlife species. SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Conservation Fund. The pregnant females leave the breeding lagoons in mid-February. 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. US Dept. A piece of gray whale baleen, also called whalebone, is about 18 inches long and has a consistency much like a fingernail. 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. They consume amphipods and are likely to eat small crustaceans and shrimp which they can easily find in burrows on the ocean floor. Accumulated ear wax can tell a whale's age. Here are some interesting gray whale facts. The migrating whales do not travel in groups except when mothers are with their young. 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 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). The whale’s milk contains 6 times the protein of human milk. 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 believed to be able to dive up to 120 m (395 ft.) and swim up to 15 kph (33 mph). Their voices are like clangs, pops, and croaks. 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 known to migrate more than 10,000 km (6,000 miles) each way. The gray whale (grey whale, Eschrichtius robustus, devil fish). Gray Whale Facts. Gray Whale Facts: Gray whales are 36-50 feet (11-15 m). Commerce., NOAA Tech. Crazy about roller coasters? 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 migrations of the gray whale are the longest by any mammal, in search of food and breeding. The gestation period lasts for about 13.5 months while the breeding cycle averages 2 years. They spend these months in the freezing Arctic waters. Whales prefer one fin over the other, just like humans are right-handed or left-… The gray whale is the only living member of the baleen whale family Eschrichtiidae. They are easy to see with their gray color, which is actually more charcoal black than it is gray. Gray whales have a hump and a ridge of sharp bumps along their backs, instead of a dorsal fin. 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. The blue whale is the largest known creature to ever inhabit the planet. Whalebone was once used to make ladies' corsets and umbrella ribs. Gray Whales (Eschrictius robustus): Eastern North Pacific Stock. 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 … The largest gray whales weigh about 99,000 pounds (45,000 kg)! Browse our extensive collection of zoological career infobooks including animal training, animal rescue and rehabilitation and zoo careers. The pregnant whales are going to store calories enough to make long-distance southward migration in summer. Most of the feeding occurs in between May and November. DeMaster. The gray whale was ascribed to several other names, including desert whale, devilfish, gray back, mussel digger, and rip sack. For more information about baleen whales, explore the. Rugh, D.J., Muto, M.M., Moore, S.E. They are quite large with a full grown size of about 50 feet in length. Gray whales earned the nickname "devil fish" because of their aggressive reactions when harpooned. The series forms a ‘dorsal ridge’. Gray Whales differ from other baleen whales. Gray whales are considered a medium-sized whale, and span up to 45 feet (14 meters). Downloaded on 28 September 2018. Gray whales have lots of barnacles and lice on their skin. So are we! Gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) are the most primitive of the baleen whales. The Book of Whales. The female whales with their calves tend to go farther than those traveling alone. The Gray Whale is one of the largest animals in the world. Below are 15 fun facts about whales, proving that these creatures are a wonder of nature. They are likely to mate during migration but courtship or mating can occur when they’re about to reach their breeding place, lagoons. The long distance travellers. © 2020 SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Gray whale’s ‘blow’ hardly rises ten feet above the water surface however the blow of a blue whale goes way too high. The primary reason was whaling. Unlike blue whales and humpback whales, the gray whales swim across the coastal waters. Unlike most other baleen whales, gray whales seem to have a series of 8 to 14 bumps on their back. 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. These plates are arranged in two groups of 130 – 150 plates, and they are ivory to yellow in color. CITES protects all species of baleen whales. They are not named after their body color because they are not gray—not at least at birth. It is gray or black, white mottled, and has thin yellow baleen with coarse bristles. 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. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T8097A12885255. Now these calves have learnt to run off their predators. 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. The gray whale differs from the other two baleen whale families primarily in its feeding behavior, it is a bottom feeder. In the United States, the Marine Mammal Protection Act protects all whale species, so it is illegal to hunt or harass them. NOAA Fisheries – Gray Whale Species Profile. They will find their breeding habitats close to the shore typically within 1.9 to 3.1 mi (3–5 km) of land. The gray whales are able to live up to 70 years max. Are you wild about whales? Gray Whale Description. The clusters of barnacles on a gray whale's skin are as unique as each human's fingerprints. Biologists however believe that gray whales get along peacefully with many other marine species. Males are slightly smaller with the length reaching 43 ft (13 m). 1. You will notice whiskers by their mouths. Whales can hold their breaths for at least 20 minutes. Several key laws protect baleen whales, such as gray whales. Find a variety of free classroom activities that will keep your students engaged and excited to learn about animals. Gray whales never make complex vocalizations. New York: Smithsonian Books, 1984. National Marine Fisheries Service. The ocean is part whale pee. These plates are arranged in two groups of 130 – 150 plates, and they are ivory to yellow in color. 1999. Baleen whales do not have teeth but rather they are equipped with 100s of baleen plates and keratin bristles. They then sieve out the water and silt … Whale "vomit" is used in perfumes. Anatomy . They become mature at the age of 6 – 8 years but females typically give their first birth in the ninth year. Gray whales are primarily known for their migration and feeding in shallow waters. 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! Here the grays go 0.5 km (1,700 ft) offshore. Learn more about the Seasonal Camp Counselor program at SeaWorld. While most other baleen whales filter feed in the water, Gray Whales go down to the bottom and plog the sea floor. The reduced number of baleen reflects the fact that they are bottom feeders. 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 plates are quite thick in comparison to other baleen whales. Gray whales are predominantly bottom feeders and forage along the ocean floor. Our overarching zoological mission is to foster conservation awareness and to impart action on our park guests to preserve wild animals and wild places. APPEARANCE. Stirring up the bottom actually provides food for other animals as well, birds and fish follow feeding gray whales regularly. 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. As its name implies, the whale’s body is a mottled gray coloration. Downloaded on 28 September 2018. Born without a blubber layer, babies need warmer waters. Download free teacher guides to keep students learning in a hands-on way: includes vocabulary, classroom activities, goals and objectives. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, whalers hunted gray whales to the brink of extinction - twice. The Gray Whale is one that people seem to be able to identify when they are looking into the ocean. The Gray Whale migrates between the areas where it breeds and where it feeds throughout the year. 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. They are indeed massive, but just how big is a gray whale and where how does it compare to other whale species?