Gray Whale

The Gray Whale is a baleen whale.

What this means is that they have two blow holes and special plates that they can use to filter their food.

Gray Whales are extremely large in size, and grow to as long as 45 feet.

Gray Whales make an incredible migration which traverses the entire area from the Arctic Ocean near Alaska, to the Baja Peninsula of Mexico, and then return each year.

Gray Whale
Gray Whale

All told they will travel about 12 thousand miles per year.
They will feed in the Arctic and mate and have their calves in the warmer water near Mexico.

Gray whales make an extraordinarily long migration from the Arctic Ocean (northwest of Alaska in the Chukchi Sea) to the Baja peninsula off Mexico, and back each year. They travel about 12,500 miles (20,110 km) each year, staying near the coast.

They feed in the cold Arctic waters and calve and mate in the warm, protected tropical lagoons of the Pacific Ocean off Baja, Mexico. Gray whales breed primarily in the late winter to early spring, while they are near the uppermost part of the water and when the water is warmest.

Female grays will gestate for a little over 13 months before they give birth to a live baby, who is born head first, which is not the norm for cetaceans. They birth near the top of the warmer more shallow water.

The new calf will instinctively swim to the top, when it’s around 10 seconds old to take its first breath.

If it does not begin to move upward the female will help it to the surface using her flippers to boost it. When the calves are about half hour old, they can already swim.
Imagine having a newborn that was about 12 feet long and weighed almost a ton.

Gray Whale
Gray Whale

Twin calves born to gray whales are very rare, but they do occur, although only in one percent of the births that occur.

The baby nurses from its mother for about 8 months. Gray whale milk is very fatty, and contains about 50 percent milk fat. The calf will drink about 50 pounds of mother’s milk each day until he is 8 months old.

Mother and calf will live together for about a year.

The gray whale will become mature when he or she is about 8 and begin to breed. They will continue to grow up until about the age of forty.

Gray whales when left alone will live to be about 60 years old.

Find out more about the Gray Whale over at Wikipedia »

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