Instead of a dorsal fin, the Gray Whale has a slight hump far down on its back. Behind this hump are six to 12 knuckles or bumps. The dorsal flippers are pointed and small, proportional to the body, and the flukes particularly large. In fact, these tail fins can reach widths of up to three metres (or almost 10 feet). The flukes have convex, often jagged, trailing edges.
Adult Gray Whales reach 12 to 14 metres in length, which equals about 39.5 to 46 feet. At full size, they weigh anything between 15 and 35 tonnes.
The Gray Whale is particularly active, and is often seen spyhopping, breaching and lobtailing. They love to ride in the surf and are, therefore, frequently found in shallow waters. Sometimes, they are spotted lying on their sides at the surface of the water and waving a pectoral flipper in the air.
The Gray Whale often travels alone, but is seen in pods of between three and 18 individuals too (depending very much on whether it is migrating, feeding or mating).
Where to Find Them
This whale species prefers shallow waters. In summer, it is found in the arctic waters, while winter sees them moving to the Mexican lagoons.
This baleen whale is, primarily, a bottom-feeder, getting small krill and, occasionally small fish, from the sandy ocean floor.
Whaling remains one of the largest threats to the Gray Whale. Although they are locally common, they are rarely seen in areas further abroad. Pollution and human development also endangers the wellbeing of these whales and conservation efforts being made to preserve the species. Fishing nets pose another massive threat to the Gray Whale. It becomes entangled in the nets and soon drowns when it cannot surface for air.