Gray Whale Facts

There are some interesting gray whale facts.

               "Grey Whale Surfacing to Exhale and Breathe"
Gray Whale Surfacing to Exhale and Breathe
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  • The "group" of Gray Whales (Eschrichtius robustus) is represented by a single species. Gray Whales differ from other baleen whales. While most other baleen whales filter feed in the water, Gray Whales go down to the bottom and plog the sea floor. They filter shellfish and other marine animals from the ocean bottom mud. They also have a longer gestation period.

  • They can weight up to 35 tons and can grow up to 15m long.
  • They have a gray body with white spots which are barnacles.
California Gray Whale Calf, San Ignacio Lagoon,Baja California, Mexico
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  • Gray whales are only found in the Northern Hemisphere, and only in the Pacific Ocean along the western coast of North America; and along the eastern coast of China and Russia's far east.
  • There used to be gray whales in the northern Atlantic Ocean too, but they were thought to have become extinct during the whaling days. However, just recently their have been some sightings of Grey Whales in the north Atlantic!

Eye of a Gray Whale, Eschrichtius Robustus, San Ignacio Lagoon, Baja California, Mexico
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  • They migrate so fast that it would take a strong swimmer 30 weeks to swim the distance that gray whales swim in less than six weeks.Their swimming speed is about 8km/h, but may reach about 13km/h. 
  • While most other baleen whales eat while swimming, gray whales often feed in the sea bottom, where they filter muddy seabed for shellfish and leave behind deep grooves like ploughed fields.
  • Maybe for that reason, gray whales are the whales with least amount of baleen. They only have 130 baleens on each side of the jaw.
  • They are also found closer to the shore than other large Cetaceas, and they are not found across the whole northern Pacific, but only in coastal waters.
  • They like to play in shallow water, breaching out of the water and then falling back with a big splash.
  • They also have a known habit to spyhop - lift their head vertically out of the water and then have a look around.
  • They make many different sounds like clicks, whistles, rumbles, groans and grunts.

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