The Grey Whale lives in the North Pacific Ocean and especially on the coast of California. He is part of the Order of the Cetacea and the Mammalia family.
This species is on the verge of extinction, which is why it is protected by law in 1946. An estimated population of 15,000-22,000 is estimated.
In most of the year, adults live a relatively solitary life (or in restricted groups of 3-15 individuals) feeding on the frozen ocean (Arctic).
Every year, in February, they leave cold waters and migrate through the Pacific Ocean near the western coasts of North America (Alaska, Canada, USA), traveling 16,000 km in about 3-4 months to reach summer in the warm waters near Mexico – reg. Baja (San Ignatio lagoon – now a natural reserve) for the breeding season.
During migrations and hot water, these whales do not feed, or eat very little food. At the end of the breeding season, the whales migrate back on the same route back to the Arctic Ocean for the feeding season. The normal movement speed (migration speed) is 3-10km / hour. In case of danger, they can travel 16-18km / hour. The speed of swimming during feeding is 1.6-4km / hour.
Grey Whale’s Food
The grey whale is fed by water filtration.
It usually sinks to the bottom of the sea, in deep areas, takes huge shoals of shore and filters short worms, shrimps, sea stars, fish and other small animals.
Grey Whale’s Features
His head is long, thin and quite small compared to the size of the body. The vertebrae of the neck are separated, and at the neck has 2-4 increments characteristic of this species. It presents some formations called phanos, two rows on both sides of the upper jaw.
They have some extensions that allow them to feed on plankton. They function as a brush that retains only the components of the plankton from the water introduced into the mouth.
This whale reaches the length of 13-15 m and the weight of 14-35 tons. Its color is gray with white spots, the skin is inlaid with shells, whale paddles and other growths. On the back, the dorsal fin is replaced by a series of 8-9 bumps, and the tail has the jagged edges.
They make some sounds like grimaces, groans, clams or clamped hammers. It jumps, stands in a vertical position in the water, with its head removed far out, to observe other whales, other landmarks or to check water flows for migration.
The grey whale weighs about 30-35 tons (only the tongue weighs 1300 kg).
Grey Whale’s Reproduction
These whales usually swim in groups, migrating in groups of up to 10 specimens, in the northern regions to the Arctic (where the krill is abundant) to feed in the summer and in the southern regions to the lagoons to rest and make babies, in autumn and winter.
At two to three years, they give birth to live whales, which they feed on milk. Just born baby is helped by other whales in the group to reach the surface of the water to breathe.
The mother pack produces 250-300 liters of fatty milk daily, which is consumed by the baby whale and helps it grow very quickly. Spring returns to higher altitudes, along with infants. Migrations are very long, gray whales crossing distances of up to 20,000 km per year.
Longevity: 50-60 years. Enemies: killer whale (orca), large sharks and whale hunters (Siberian eschimos).