Length

up to 49 ft

Weight

up to 60,000 lbs

Population

about 22,000

Distribution

Gray whales are distributed in Eastern North Pacific while being endangered in the western North Pacific.

Description

The gray whale is part of the baleen whale family. Their scientific name is Eschrichtius robustus. They are known by many names, being: grey whale, gray back whale, Pacific gray whale, and California gray whale. Gray whales have a dark gray bodies covered in white patterns which are the scars left from the parasites that hang on for the ride. Gray whale teeth is non existent, rather they have unusually short baleen for filter feeding. In place of your usual dorsal fin, gray whales have up to twelve dorsal crenulations which are seen as raised bumps. A distinguishing feature of gray whales are their double blow holes. When in use, their spray takes the shape of a heart (which is great for whale watchers to look out for!) 

Gray whales have a gestation period of 13.5 months. Females are known to have many mates, reaching puberty at eight years old. The whales feed on benthic crustaceans by turning on their sides and scraping the sea floor sediment. Due to this unique feeding habit, gray whales rely heavily on the coastal waters. So, why are gray whales endangered? Due to the large amount of commercial whaling in the 19th century. Luckily, the eastern Pacific population has been taken off of the list due to legal protection. However, this species puts up a good fight. An interesting fact about gray whales are that they used to be referred to as the Devil Fish for the fierce fight they put up against whalers.