SOUTHERN RIGHT WHALE
Eubalaena australis

Habitat: Southern Right whales are typically found in the southern open ocean.

Average adult size: Adults can grow to be 55 feet long.

Natural history: Southern Right whales got their name for all the wrong reasons. They were considered the "right" whale to hunt. They swam slowly and had a high yield of oil, one of whaling's main products. Baleen, or whalebone, was also used in fashionable garments of the late1800s. Right whales were fished for at least 300 years and are rare today because of it. Their baleen was much softer than most whales, so it was in very high demand. Between 1835 and 1845, 19,000 Right whales were killed. Calves are born close to shore, in winter, after a 12-month gestation period. They can be 15 to 20 feet long at birth. Calves receive mother's milk until they are about 27 feet long. Females get pregnant with calves once every three years. Right whales feed on two kinds of small crustaceans. They plow through the water with their mouths partly open, catching copepods and krill.

Range: From Antarctica north to the Indian Ocean.


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