Eschrichtius robustus

Habitat: Grey whales are typically found in the coastal North Pacific

Average adult size: Adults can grow to be 45 feet long.

Natural history: Grey whales make the longest known migration of any mammal. They travel more than 11,000 miles each year from their summer feeding grounds, in the Bering Sea, to their winter calving grounds, in southern Baja, California. They can be seen easily from shore as they travel along the coast of North America. The only bottom feeding whale, greys roll on their side to dig up small crustaceans, called amphipods. They leave behind large pits in the muddy sand. Then, greys use their baleen to filter out the leftovers, mud and water. They spend winters in the protected lagoons of southern Baja. There, they mate and give birth to calves in the warm water. Today, a whale-watching industry in these lagoons lets you see the animals up close. In the past, these same lagoons were almost the whales undoing. Since they swim slowly in a small area, they were easy targets for whalers. Greys were almost hunted to extinction in the early 1900s. They have been protected by international law since 1936, and have made a strong comeback. Greys dive for three to five minutes to a depth of 500 feet. Calves average 15 feet long and weigh 1,500 pounds at birth. Grey whales may live to be 60 years old.

Range: From Alaska to southern Baja, California

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