What is the origin of the name “gray whale”? The gray whale received its name because of the gray and white mottling that may be found on its skin. What exactly does it feel like to touch the skin of a gray whale? Marks of scratching may be seen on the skin, as well as areas of white barnacles and orange whale lice.
A whale’s skin feels like a peeled hard-boiled egg. The majority of the adult gray whales have teeth rake marks and scars as a result of their interactions with orcas. In places where whale barnacles have been removed, light gray or white scarring might be seen. Soon after birth, young whales develop patches of barnacles on their bodies.
What kind of sizes do gray whales reach? Adult males may grow to a maximum length of 45 feet, while adult females are somewhat bigger and can grow to a maximum length of around 50 feet. Up to 30–40 tons is the combined weight of both sexes. The flukes, or tail, of a gray whale may reach lengths of up to three meters.
Do gray whales sing? There is a lot of mystery around the gurgles and warbling sounds that gray whales make, as no one truly knows what these sounds imply. Do gray whales have a sleep pattern? Some researchers in the field believe that whales do not stop swimming during migration; rather, they may be sleeping while their bodies are in a state of “autopilot,” which allows them to continue swimming.
Some people believe that whales may sleep for as little as ten to twenty minutes at a time. How can I tell a gray whale from other whales? The skulls of gray whales are small and tapered, and their upper jaws only very slightly overlap the lower jaws.
- Gray whales have streamlined bodies.
- The dorsal (top) fin of the gray whale does not exist; nevertheless, there is a noticeable dorsal hump located approximately two thirds of the way back on the body; this is followed by six to twelve knuckles along the dorsal ridge that extend to the fluke (tail).
- It has a fluke that is around 10 feet across, pointed at the points, and deeply notched in the middle.
Additionally, the ventral neck has anywhere from 2-5 grooves. How large are the eyes of gray whales? The eyes of an adult are situated just above the mouth outline, they are around the size of a baseball, and they are situated approximately 8 feet from the extremity of the head of the gray whale.
They also have eyelids, and according to some scientists I’ve spoken with, you can identify the age of a gray whale based on the protein found in their eyes (during an autopsy to determine the cause of death). How long can a gray whale go without coming up for air if it is forced to remain submerged? A fully grown gray whale has the ability to remain submerged for up to half an hour.
What kind of teeth do gray whales have? No, the gray whale belongs to the sub-order Mysticeti, and members of the Mysticeti sub-order lack teeth in favor of baleen plates. Are gray whales sociable creatures? Gray whales that are considered to be particularly sociable can sometimes approach the tiny boats used by tourists to tour the calving and breeding lagoons and will even allow humans to touch them.
- How long does the life of a gray whale typically last? Gray whales typically live between 40 and 60 years, however some individuals have been known to live up to 70 years.
- When do gray whales first start mating and having babies? Gray whales achieve sexual maturity somewhere between the ages of 5 and 11 years; a gray whale who lives to be 40 years old might have as many as 18 calves over the course of their lifetime.
How long does the pregnancy last in a gray whale? The gestation period lasts for 11 to 12 months, and as it is optimal for the moms to reach warm waters before giving birth, migration and reproduction are closely related processes. The embryo does not begin its process of development inside the body of the mother until a few months after the gray whale has become pregnant.
This unusual adaption is referred to as delayed implantation. After mating in the lagoons or while migrating, the pregnant female makes her way back to the arctic feeding waters before continuing her voyage north. She indulges in a feast for both herself and her unborn child, and then, in the fall or winter, she travels south to give birth in the nursery lagoons.
When she finally reaches the warm lagoons, the baby has been growing and maturing for 11 or 12 months, and it is now ready to be born. The average time between births for a female is two years. What does a calf that has just been born look like? Calves are dark gray to black when they are first born, and some of them may have noticeable white markings.
The average weight of a calf is between 1,100 and 1,500 pounds. When they are around 15 feet long, they weigh anything from 1,500 to 2,000 pounds. What kind of food do young gray whales consume? Because whales are mammals, their young consume the milk of their mothers for the first 6 to 8 months of their lives.
They will consume around 50 litres of their mother’s milk each day. Whale milk is exceptionally rich, containing approximately 53% fat, whereas human milk has approximately 2% fat. Where exactly do infant gray whales come into the world? The shallow, warm lagoons of Baja California, Mexico, serve as excellent nurseries for marine mammals and are primarily where mating and giving birth takes place.
- During their travel, the animals have been witnessed both calving and mating.
- What characteristics make the lagoons suitable for use as nurseries? The lagoons are protected from orca whales that are hungry (killer of whales).
- The saline water makes the calves more buoyant, which makes it easier for them to nurse.
The warm water also assists the calves in maintaining their body temperature until they develop blubber. Why do the moms and their offspring remain in the lagoons for two to three months? It makes it possible for the calves to develop a substantial coating of blubber, which has two purposes: first, it provides the calves with the energy they need to swim throughout the migration to the north, and second, it protects the calves from the colder waters.
- Are whales capable of becoming excellent mothers? It is true that mothers are extremely protective of their young; in fact, they were given the moniker “Devilfish” because of the vicious way in which they reacted to whalers who took their young.
- What happens to the newborn whale after it is born in the ocean? The mother holds her calf up at the surface so that it may take its first few breaths of air there.
After that, she lifts the infant up to the surface using her own back and flukes to support it. When do gray whale calves first make their appearance? Calves are often born in the lagoons of Baja California, Mexico, anywhere from the end of December to the beginning of February, with Laguna Ojo de Liebre accounting for more than half of all births.
How large are gray whale calves when they first emerge from their mothers? Calves may acquire up to 60 to 70 pounds per day from the milk that their mothers produce, and they can grow to be between 18 and 19 feet long in the first three months of their lives. When they are born, are newborn whales able to swim? A calf is able to hold itself afloat and swim on a steady path within approximately three hours after birth.
Until it becomes a better swimmer, a calf may rest on its mother’s back or fins until it is able to swim independently. What kind of food do gray whales consume? The diet of gray whales consists of bottom-dwelling tube worms and tiny crustaceans like amphipods.
These whales are capable of consuming a ton of shrimp-like amphipods every single day. The migration patterns of gray whales are similar to those of cattle on an open range; they go wherever there is food. I have witnessed the resident gray whales that frequent the waters outside of Depoe Bay feeding in one location for several weeks at a time before moving 1-2 miles away and continuing to feed for the next month.
What kind of food do gray whales consume? Because they lack teeth, gray whales use their baleen, which hangs from the roof of their mouths, to scoop up food and strain it. Gray whales are the only whales that graze on the ocean floor. During the feeding process, a whale will dive to the ocean floor, roll onto its right side, and consume mouthfuls of mud from the ocean floor.
- When the whale closes its mouth, water and sediments shoot out of the baleen plates, which are located inside the whale’s mouth.
- Because of this, the amphipods become affixed to the baleen within the mouths of the sharks.
- After this, whales will use their tongues to dislodge the amphipods from the baleen, and then they will ingest them.
Plates made of baleen are what exactly. Baleen whales have a set of baleen plates that dangle like curtains from each side of the upper mouth. These plates can have anywhere from 130 to 180 fringes and overlap one another. Keratin, which is also found in fingernails, is the primary component of baleen.
- The plates have a creamy white color and are between 2 to 10 inches in length.
- Baleen plates are responsible for removing water from the digestive tract while also trapping food particles; baleen is typically changed every 5 years.
- During their annual migration, how quickly do gray whales travel? The average daily distance covered by a gray whale is around 100 miles, allowing them to travel from Unimak Pass in Alaska to Baja California in roughly 50 to 60 days.
Do all gray whales travel with the migration? On the contrary, gray whales can be observed around the shores of British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and California throughout the entire year. When exactly does the annual migration of gray whales take place? The whales start to migrate away from their feeding areas in October.
They make their way south over the autumn and winter to the lagoons in Baja California, Mexico, where they mate and give birth to their young. The trip to the south takes around two to three months to complete. In the late winter and early spring, the whales make their way back up north (mid-February to early June).
How do whales know when it’s the right time to migrate? There are a few causes for this, including the fact that there are less hours of sunshine, variations in the temperature of the water, and changes in the quantity of food as the pack ice in the north continues to expand.
- How quick are the gray whales’ swim speeds? They move at a speed of around three to six miles per hour.
- Is there a set schedule for when each whale departs? The pregnant cows of the gray whale population are the first to head south, followed by the other adults and youngsters approximately a month later.
Gray whales migrate in groups. The most recent moms and their young calves are the very last whales to make their way back up north. What motivates gray whales to go along the coast? They are benthic (bottom) feeders, thus they have evolved with an orientation toward the seafloor, which is where their food is found.
- The coastline may assist them traverse the long distance, and since they are benthic feeders, they have an inclination toward the seafloor.
- How far inland do they typically go before reaching the coast? Gray whales often get to within two to five miles of the shoreline when they travel along the Oregon coast.
It’s possible that gray whales care more about the depth of the water than how far they are from land. When whales are in their winter breeding grounds, do they still eat? Gray whales rely almost entirely on the fat stores they accumulated over the summer feeding grounds in order to make it through the months they spend traveling and socializing in the lagoons of Baja California.
Some observers are under the impression that gray whales do not consume anything once they have left the Arctic. When they go to their mating sites, do gray whales experience significant weight loss? It is possible for a 30-ton whale to lose ten to thirteen tons of its blubber during the journey to the Baja lagoons since the whale consumes very little food, if any food at all, when it is in its breeding grounds.
However, by the beginning of summer, the vast majority of gray whales have returned to their feeding areas in the north. It is expected that they will regain between 15 and 30 percent of their entire body weight over the course of the next five months.
What are baby gray whales called?
Migration of Gray Whales During the Winter: December, January, and February in the Lagoons Used for Mating and Calving
|Gray Whale Nursery Lagoons (click on red dots for more)|
Since the month of December, gray whales have been making their way to the four calving and mating lagoons located around the coast of Baja California, Mexico. (To learn more about each lagoon, click on the dots located on the map.) Although the majority of births take place from the beginning of January through the end of February, there are a few infants that are delivered each year while their mothers are traveling south.
Most of the pregnant females and nursing mothers may be found in the interior lagoons, which are the furthest away from the open ocean. A newborn calf of the gray whale is around 15 feet in length and weighs between 1500 and 2000 pounds when it is first born. In some circumstances, a female gray whale known as an auntie assists in the delivery of her young.
It’s possible that the auntie will provide a hand by holding the mother above the water so that the baby might be delivered facing upward into the air. When a calf is born underwater, either its auntie or its mother will bring it to the surface so that it may take its first breath of oxygen.
|Gray Whale Nursery Lagoons Photo Courtesy of Keith Jones|
The flukes and flippers of a newborn baby gray are highly floppy when they are initially born. These infants will eventually harden, but for the time being it is quite challenging for them to swim at a speed that allows them to keep up with an adult. The mothers go about their business quite leisurely.
They exhibit a high level of parental care toward their offspring. After the calves’ flippers and flukes have developed sufficient strength, they begin to investigate their surroundings in the lagoon. Women take their little children out for a cautious swim around the lagoon. Lagoons in Baja Mexico with their warmer waters and shallow depths provide excellent nurseries.
The fact that neonates are skinny and relatively blubberless at birth makes it especially important for them to be able to retain their body heat in the warmer water. The nursing period lasts for around six months, and during that time the cow produces as much as fifty liters of milk every single day for her young.
- Calves are able to gain between 60 and 70 pounds per day or more because to the milk’s high fat content, which totals 53%.
- They are putting on more fat in preparation for their journey to the Arctic.
- In the meanwhile, the whales in the lagoons continue to captivate and delight the hundreds of whale watchers that come to the area.
The whales have been coming straight up to the boat on each and every voyage, according to the tour leader Keith Jones. “We have been blessed with one trip after the other,” Jones said. Do you ever daydream about what it would be like to be floating in a panga (boat) and having a gigantic mother gray whale and her inquisitive young calf approach or pass underneath it? A few privileged adolescents from Knoxville, Iowa, in the United States demonstrate what it is like.
- If the thought of kissing a young whale makes you uncomfortable, you may relive the experience by watching our video clip.
- At some point around the end of December or the beginning of January, gray whales begin to migrate in both directions.
- Some of the first visitors in the lagoons, including male whales who are through mating and whales that are too young to mate, have already begun their trek north.
These early arrivals include males that are done mating. Through the month of February, gray whales continue to go south in far greater numbers than the few whales that are traveling north. However, the migration often reaches a point known as the turnaround somewhere between the middle of February and the beginning of March.
At this moment, more whales are heading north than are heading south. The majority of gray whales lose their desire to travel south about the middle of February. (Whales that migrate south in the months of March and April are most likely simply taking a short detour on their way to warmer waters farther north.
Is it possible that they are doing a U-turn so that they can search for other whales that they had been traveling with earlier?) Midway during the month of February, newly pregnant females start their journey northward, leaving the lagoons behind them.
- They are quickly followed by the guys from prior years and the youngsters from those years.
- The new moms and their young calves are the last ones to go.
- They have been known to stay as late as May or June on occasion.
- Winter Lessons What the heck! What a Suckling! What does a calf that has just been born look like? What is the average amount of weight that a calf will have gained by the time it is two months old and begins the trek north? What characteristics point to gray whales as being good mothers? The inhabitants of the Nursery Lagoons What characteristics make the lagoons an ideal environment for the development of young whales? While you listen to tour guide Kristin “Ellie” Kusic explain the mother whales and their young in Laguna San Ignacio from the perspective of a whale watch tour boat, close your eyes and envision the sight.
Draw a Gray Whale for Your Whale Drawing! How large are these marine mammals that live in the ocean? Follow our detailed instructions to create a drawing of a gray whale that is life-size. Tour of the Lagoon: Watching Whales at the Laguna Ojo de Liebre Would you be interested in paying a visit to some whales? Laguna Ojo de Liebre is one of the four nursery lagoons located on the Baja Peninsula in Mexico.
Join us on a visual tour of this beautiful location! What exactly is a “footprint” of a whale, and how can you interpret it? Please tell me two interesting facts about the barnacles that live on gray whales. The journey from the Arctic to the lagoons of Mexico takes whales approximately how many weeks to complete? What is the name of the region in Mexico that has been set aside to safeguard flora and animals that are on the verge of extinction? Which peninsula is both the longest and the narrowest in the world? Discover the answer here! Rules! Rules! Rules! Take a look at the regulations that whale watchers are expected to follow at Laguna Ojo de Liebre.
Have a conversation using the questions on our list after that. The very essence of the land The warm and salty conditions of the lagoons of Baja California, Mexico, make them not just excellent nurseries for young gray whales but also other marine life.
In addition, the circumstances in these lagoons are precisely suitable for the production of solar-evaporated salt. This visual tour will take you to the locations where salt is mined. Sheyna Wisdom Pays Attention to the Whales! Sheyna Wisdom, a researcher, is attempting to determine how gray whale calves produce their distinctive sounds.
What kind of noises do they make? Learn more through our question and answer session with Sheyna here.
How much do baby whales weigh at birth?
When female blue whales achieve sexual maturity, which typically occurs between the ages of 5 and 15 years, they are able to have calves every two to three years. Pregnancies in blue whales normally continue for approximately a year, and calves are born between December and February in regions with low latitudes.
- Blue whale calves are massive for their age! They may grow to a length of around 23 feet and can weigh between 5,000 and 6,000 pounds when they are born.
- Over the course of 24 hours, a nursing mother blue whale generates milk equal to more than fifty gallons.
- Because the milk contains between 35 and 50 percent milk fat, the calf is able to put on weight at a pace of up to 10 pounds an hour, which is equivalent to more than 250 pounds in a single day! Calves often remain with their moms for the first six to seven months of their lives.
By the time they are 6 months old, a calf’s length has almost exactly doubled, reaching an average of nearly 52 feet in length. It is not known how long blue whales live, but researchers believe their lifespan is between between 80 and 90 years. Krill, which are little invertebrates that are similar to shrimp, is these gentle giants’ preferred source of nutrition.
- During the feeding season, blue whales have been known to consume up to 12,000 pounds of krill in a single day.
- During the arctic summers, they concentrate their efforts on feeding, mainly in the areas near Monterey Bay, the Channel Islands, and the Farallon Islands and Cordell Bank off the coast of California.
They go south to Mexico and Central America, where the waters are warmer, so that they can spend the winter there.
How big is a Newborn gray whale at birth?
The newborn gray whale is around 15 feet long and weighs approximately 2000 pounds when it is born. During their first several months of life, the newborn calves stick very close to their moms and nurse often. Sometimes, a female gray whale known as an auntie would assist the mother in giving birth to her young. It’s possible that the auntie will assist in keeping the mother’s head above water.
How much does a baby killer whale weigh?
What Do Killer Whales Eat? Killer whales are the apex predators and are at the top of the marine food chain. No other species hunts killer whales; only humans do. They provide food for a variety of fish, such as salmon, herring, cod, hake, and other species of fish that live in the water, particularly the smaller ones.
How big is a gray whale in feet?
The gray whale is the largest marine mammal on the planet, reaching lengths of about 15 meters (almost 50 feet) in certain cases. Newborns have an average length of around 16 feet, while adults have an average length of between 44 and 49 feet, and their tails are about 10-11 feet wide.
- Their horns are notched in the middle and taper to a point at the end.
- Male whales often mature into a smaller size than their female counterparts.
- Depending on their size, adult whales may weigh anywhere from 17 to 44 tons, which places them as the ninth-largest species of cetacean.
- Cetaceans are distinguished by their streamlined bodies, carnivorous diets, and high levels of intelligence.
They are comprised of both toothed whales and baleen whales.
What is another name for a grey whale?
For further information, see:
- Mary Lou Jones, Steven L. Swartz, and Stephen Leatherwood are the names of the authors (1984). The scientific name for the gray whale is Eschrichtius robustus. Academic Press.p.600. ISBN 9780123891808 .
- Both Rice and Wolman, Dale W., and Allen A. Rice (April 30, 1971). The American Society of Mammalogists. The Life History and Ecology of the Gray Whale: Eschrichtius Robustus, Special Publication No.3. Page 152.
- Those two names are Swartz, Steven L., and Jones, Mary Lou (June 1987). The article “Gray Whales” may be found in National Geographic, volume 171, issue 6, pages 754–771. ISSN 0027-9358 . OCLC 643483454 .
- Sumich, James (2014).E. robustus: The biology and human history of gray whales (1st ed.). (1st ed.). ISBN 9780692225424 may be found on page 199 of the book Whale Cove Marine Education.