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Deep, Dark and Watery Habitat

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Deep, Dark and Watery Habitat

Gray Whales are mammals that live in the Pacific Ocean. They move from place to place. They can grow up to 49 feet in length. The gray whale has a fleshy dorsal hump, but no true dorsal fin. The skin is mottled black, gray and white. This distinctive pattern can be used to identify individuals. The whales are usually covered with barnacles and whale lice. They have special abilities and they get attacked by stronger animals in the area.

Gray Whales occur only in the North Pacific Ocean. They migrate between their winter calving lagoons off the coast of northern Mexico and their summer feeding areas in the northern Bering Sea, one of the longest migrations of any mammal. When the water gets warm they move to colder water. The Gray Whale eats invertebrates that live in the muddy bottom of the Bering Sea. They suck in mud along with the prey, and then use their tongue to push out the muddy water through their baleen plates that hang from the edges of the upper jaw.

Gray Whales swim more slowly than other whales. Before they breach and go under water for awhile, they let out all their air through their blowhole. They communicate by singing to each other. Female whales give birth once every two years, after 12 or 13 months of being pregnant the calf is nursed for seven or eight months. Males do not appear to play a role in caring for their young.

Whales get attacked by stronger animals in the Pacific Ocean. For example, some predators are sharks and Orca Whales. Also humans hurt whales because they want the blubber. Gray Whales stay near shore in almost all parts of their range. This behavior made them easy prey for whalers who have hunted them, nearly to the point of extinction in the 1800's and again in the early 1900's. The hunting of gray whales was forbidden by the International Whaling Commission in 1947. As a result, Gray Whales in the eastern Pacific made a remarkable recovery to a total population of more than 20,000 animals by the 1900's.

Gray Whales are a favorite tourist attraction off the coasts of California, Oregon and Washington states from November through April or May, when mothers and newly born calves can be seen as they migrate northward. They live in blue and cold water that is sometimes warm and they have cool abilities. Their predators are very mean.



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