Stack five male African elephants onto a scale and you get the picture. Quick facts about this large baleen whale with a really long migration! Status review of the eastern north Pacific stock of gray whales. The gray whale is in the sub-order Mysticeti. Gray Whale Facts for Kids Gray whale (Eschrichtius Robustus) is the only species from the genus Eschrichtius that is alive today. Gray Whale Description. They consume amphipods and are likely to eat small crustaceans and shrimp which they can easily find in burrows on the ocean floor. Guide to the Biology and Behavior of Cetaceans. Whales can hold their breaths for at least 20 minutes. US Dept. The Mysticeti whales have baleen instead of teeth. The gray whale is the only living member of the baleen whale family Eschrichtiidae. The reduced number of baleen reflects the fact that they are bottom feeders. 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 largest gray whales weigh about 99,000 pounds (45,000 kg)! Their voices have a frequency of less than 1500 Hz. 1 (2002): 41–48. The ocean is part whale pee. Living in the North Pacific, gray whales are known for the double blow holes atop their head. 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. The largest grey whales have flukes, or tails, that may span ten feet. The primary reason was whaling. The length of the short baleen plates measures around 20 inches (50 cm). Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2000. The white patches on a gray whale’s body are the places where barnacles and whale lice have attached. 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. Born without a blubber layer, babies need warmer waters. Gray whales are bottom feeders, consuming a wide range of benthic and epibenthic invertebrates. Males are slightly smaller with the length reaching 43 ft (13 m). 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 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). Each year the adult gray whale consumes as much as 65 tons (59 tonnes). A professional writer and a passionate wildlife enthusiast, who is mostly found hooked to his laptop or in libraries researching about the wildlife. Gray whales are half the size of a blue whale and as such they are considered medium-sized whale species. They are a type of baleen whale, which means they filter food from the water through special bristly structures in their mouths. Gray whales are known to migrate more than 10,000 km (6,000 miles) each way. © 2020 SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 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. Gestation period averages 12 months (Sperm whale 17 months). 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. National Marine Fisheries Service. The gray whale is the only living member of the baleen whale family Eschrichtiidae. 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. The gray whale reaches a length of approximately 49 feet. While traveling northward, they will continue their journey as they pass through Bering Sea until they make it to the Chukchi Sea. The series forms a ‘dorsal ridge’. 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 doesn’t breed in open sea. This whale species has the least amount of baleen, approximately 130 baleen strips on each side of jaw. Gray whales catch their prey from sea floor. They become mature at the age of 6 – 8 years but females typically give their first birth in the ninth year. Gray whale’s ‘blow’ hardly rises ten feet above the water surface however the blow of a blue whale goes way too high. Female grey whales are … It has two deep grooves on its throat, which enable its mouth to expand when it feeds. Moms bear calves about every 2-3 years. NOAA Fisheries – Gray Whale Species Profile. & Zerbini, A.N. 1999. Accumulated ear wax can tell a whale's age. The "group" of Gray Whales (Eschrichtius robustus) is represented by a single species. 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. 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 gray whale attains a maximum length of about 15 metres (49 feet). They sometimes appear like a heart-shaped bow under calm waters. The whale’s milk contains 6 times the protein of human milk. The Gray Whale is one of the largest animals in the world. The tail flukes measure 9 feet across and weighs up to 400 pounds. 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. 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. A calf is 15 ft (4.6 m) long at birth and weighs up to 1,100 lb (500 kg). APPEARANCE. They are easy to see with their gray color, which is actually more charcoal black than it is gray. Gray whales are considered a medium-sized whale, and span up to 45 feet (14 meters). 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 differ from other baleen whales. Compared to most baleen whales, gray whales are rather small, growing to be only about 45 feet long. Ellis, Richard. They are quite large with a full grown size of about 50 feet in length. 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. Stirring up the bottom actually provides food for other animals as well, birds and fish follow feeding gray whales regularly. The blue whale is the largest known creature to ever inhabit the planet. https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/species/gray-whale/. 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. New York: Smithsonian Books, 1984. Map data provided by IUCN. 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. An adult gray whale might weight as much as 40 tons. They are in place to help them to sense what is going on around them. They can grow to be more than 50 feet long and to weigh more than 36 tons. The gestation period lasts for about 13.5 months while the breeding cycle averages 2 years. Its ancestors first appeared around 30 million years before. For more information about baleen whales, explore the. Males are slightly smaller than females. In the United States, the Marine Mammal Protection Act protects all whale species, so it is illegal to hunt or harass them. Saving the Gray Whale: People, Politics, and Conservation in Baja California. It is gray or black, white mottled, and has thin yellow baleen with coarse bristles. They are not named after their body color because they are not gray—not at least at birth. 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. Gray whales are baleen whales that have a short, very coarse baleen relative to other whales. 2008. Whales and Dolphins. 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. Biologists however believe that gray whales get along peacefully with many other marine species. Interesting facts about Gray Whale Calves. Gray whales once occupied the North Atlantic and North Pacific basins but the Atlantic populations became extinct by 1700s. Memo. December 10, 2000. The gray whale’s tongue is the size of a compact car which it uses to push the muddy mouthful forward against its baleen. The gray whale differs from the other two baleen whale families primarily in its feeding behavior, it is a bottom feeder. The pregnant whales are going to store calories enough to make long-distance southward migration in summer. The gray whales’ migration begins in October and ends in January. Most of the feeding occurs in between May and November. The adult female averages 46 ft (14 m) in length and weighs up to 70,000 lb (32,000 kg). NMFS-AFSC-103. The traveling continues all year-round. Gray whale facts! Many whales however gather around the Bering Sea for feeding. The gray whale (grey whale, Eschrichtius robustus, devil fish). On its throat, there are two (rarely more) longitudinal grooves. Gray whale, (Eschrichtius robustus), a slender baleen whale having a profusion of external parasites that give it the appearance of a barnacle-encrusted rock. The length of the short baleen plates measures around 20 inches (50 cm). San Diego: Thunder Bay Press, 1998. Hear animal sounds for animals like anteaters, dolphins, frogs and more. Find a variety of free classroom activities that will keep your students engaged and excited to learn about animals. 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. 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 known as both the friendly whale and the fighting whale. Grey whales can carry over 400 pounds of barnacles and whale … Come with us on an unforgettable journey behind the scenes during a SeaWorld or Busch Gardens Camp. Take a closer look at these encyclopedia books including information about animal habitats, behavior, and scientific classification. The World's Whales - The Complete Illustrated Guide. Gray whales are primarily known for their migration and feeding in shallow waters. The calves often spend their time surfing on the waves or spinning very quickly in one spot up to 60 rpm. Gray whales belong to the eastern Atlantic move towards the Bering, Beaufort, and Chukchi Seas for feeding. They are believed to be able to dive up to 120 m (395 ft.) and swim up to 15 kph (33 mph). 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. Gray Whale: Quick Facts. The eastern Pacific whales travel as far as 10,000–12,000 mi (16,000– 19,300 km). They are likely to mate during migration but courtship or mating can occur when they’re about to reach their breeding place, lagoons. 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. Balcomb, Kenneth C., Larry Foster and Stanley Minasian. These giant mammals breathe air through nostrils called blowholes, located on top of the head. The dive lasts for 4 – 5 minutes and their deepest dive ever recorded is at a depth of 248 ft (75.6 m). The female whales with their calves tend to go farther than those traveling alone. That means that one gray whale weighs more than 5 full-grown African elephants! They have some characteristics that make them quite familiar in various ways. Gray whales have lots of barnacles and lice on their skin. The eastern Pacific gray whale has made a remarkable recovery from times when they were heavily hunted. So are we! 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. Several key laws protect baleen whales, such as gray whales. 1. The gray whales are able to live up to 70 years max. CITES protects all species of baleen whales. Unlike blue whales and humpback whales, the gray whales swim across the coastal waters. Gray whales never make complex vocalizations. They will find their breeding habitats close to the shore typically within 1.9 to 3.1 mi (3–5 km) of land. Gray Whale Facts & Tidbits These whales range in size up to 14.9 m in length and weigh around 36,000 kg. They are indeed massive, but just how big is a gray whale and where how does it compare to other whale species? Baleen whales do not have teeth but rather they are equipped with 100s of baleen plates and keratin bristles. Unlike most other baleen whales, gray whales seem to have a series of 8 to 14 bumps on their back. Browse our extensive collection of zoological career infobooks including animal training, animal rescue and rehabilitation and zoo careers. The Convention in International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) is an international treaty developed in 1973 to regulate trade in certain wildlife species. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T8097A12885255.en/. 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. Here are six more fun facts about the gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus). However during migration they will eat very little. Gray whales are predominantly bottom feeders and forage along the ocean floor. The plates are quite thick in comparison to other baleen whales. 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! It is gray or black, mottled with white, and has short yellow baleen Downloaded on 28 September 2018. At times, they do change their course of traveling to hide into the beds of kelp. These plates are arranged in two groups of 130 – 150 plates, and they are ivory to yellow in color. As its name implies, the whale’s body is a mottled gray coloration. Gray Whale Facts. Unlike most other baleen whales, gray whales seem to have a series of 8 to 14 bumps on their back. Download free teacher guides to keep students learning in a hands-on way: includes vocabulary, classroom activities, goals and objectives. Gray whales are sharp enough to detect their enemies (orcas) by their vocalizations. Breeding and giving birth are the reason for southern migration. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T8097A12885255. Prominent among the amphipods is. Here are some interesting gray whale facts. After birth the calf will drink 50 gallons of milk (190 l) each day. Gray whale population in the Clayquot Sound, British Columbia is most likely to eat mysid shrimp, pelagic porcelain crab larvae, and benthic ghost shrimp. Rugh, D.J., Muto, M.M., Moore, S.E. Females tend to be a bit larger than the males. Females give birth to 4.9 m (16 ft.) calves in the warm, shallow lagoons of Baja. Gray whales stay … Gray Whales (Eschrictius robustus): Eastern North Pacific Stock. 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. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, whalers hunted gray whales to the brink of extinction - twice. Gray whales rear their young for 6 – 7 months. 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). Come face-to-face with the wonders of wildlife through species-focused episodes and related classroom activities. Gray Whale Facts. The migrating whales do not travel in groups except when mothers are with their young. The long distance travellers. Groups consist of 8 – 10 animals. The series forms a ‘dorsal ridge’. This whale migrates 12,000 miles each year, from arctic seas to Mexican lagoons and back — the longest migration of any mammal. Their voices are like clangs, pops, and croaks. The Gray whale is a giant of the ocean, mottled light to dark gray in color and encrusted with barnacles and whale lice. They can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. DeMaster. They will also consume other small bottom-dwelling invertebrates such as marine worms, crabs, and clams. Gray whales have a hump and a ridge of sharp bumps along their backs, instead of a dorsal fin. These plates are arranged in two groups of 130 – 150 plates, and they are ivory to yellow in color. The Gray Whale is one that people seem to be able to identify when they are looking into the ocean. SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Conservation Fund. 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. The Book of Whales. 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. and D.P. They spend these months in the freezing Arctic waters. Now these calves have learnt to run off their predators. 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. They are also known to display a ‘breaching’ behavior—a behavior in which it leaps above the water surface and falls on its back. 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. Learn more about the Seasonal Camp Counselor program at SeaWorld. Here the females will bear their young in bays and shallow lagoons off southeastern Florida. Whalebone was once used to make ladies' corsets and umbrella ribs. “Estimated Trends of Eastern Pacific Gray Whales from Shore Counts (1967/68 to 1995/96).” Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 4, no. Gray whales make the longest migration of any mammal. The gray whale (also known as the grey whale) is a medium-sized whale found mainly in the North Pacific Ocean. Gray whales are bottom feeders and forage in shallow coastal waters. The species gets its name from gray patches on its skin, which are scars left by parasites. That's the longest known migration route of any mammal. The migrations of the gray whale are the longest by any mammal, in search of food and breeding. Gray whales undertake one of the world's longest migrations, making a yearly round trip of 15,000-20,000 km. 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. Our overarching zoological mission is to foster conservation awareness and to impart action on our park guests to preserve wild animals and wild places. While in the lagoons, some gray whales are unusually receptive to the presence of humans. Anatomy .
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