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Gray Whale: Eschrichtiidae


Gray whales eat a variety of small shrimp, krill, squid, and octopus, along with plankton and mollusks. They are seasonal feeders, doing most of their feeding between May and November in the Arctic, but they are unique among baleen whales because they are bottom feeders. To eat, they dive to the bottom and roll on to their right side. They suck the stirred-up bottom mud and water into their mouth. This is filtered through the whale's baleen plates, trapping the food near the tongue where it can be eaten.


Gray whales got the nickname "devil fish" from early whalers who hunted off the coast of the Baja Peninsula. They got this name because the gray whale mother is so protective of its calf. The mother will make any sacrifice, including death, to protect her young. Soon whalers found that it was too dangerous to hunt these whales from boats in the water, so they started a new technique where they would herd the whales toward the beach and harpoon them from land.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammalsGray Whale: Eschrichtiidae - Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Gray Whales And People, Conservation Status - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT