Gray Whale, Eschrichtius robustus

Gray whale near the San Juan Islands Washington
Gray whale near the San Juan Islands Washington
(Click photo for a larger view)


The Gray whale, like the minke, is a baleen whale. They measure 15' - 16' at birth and grow to a length of more than 50 feet, weighing up to 30 tons. Their life span is 50–60 years.

They reach sexual maturity at between five and eleven years old.



They have two blowholes!



They are named for their decidedly grey skin, which is usually covered with barnacles and whale lice.


Gray whale around the San Juan Islands Washington




In October, the whales begin to leave their northern feeding areas and head south toward Baja California, Mexico.



The migration is more than 10,000 miles and can take three months.


Gray whale around San Juan Island
Near the San Juan Islands Washington
(Click photo for a larger view)




They are known to approach small boats and are considered friendly and quite social. Like orcas, they frequently display behavior like spy-hopping, lobtailing and breaching.


They can be seen throughout the San Juan Islands Washington beginning in the spring as they travel along their annual migration from the Arctic Sea to Mexico, a distance of more than 12,000 miles.

Gray whale near the San Juan Islands Washington (Click this drawing to open a new window onto a much larger image with more details.)

Read here about the Minke whale and the Orca whale. When you visit Friday Harbor, be sure to see the whale skeletons at the Whale Museum on San Juan Island Washington.


Jump straight to these fact pages: Little Brown Bats, Bird Facts, Cool Facts, Deer Facts, Red Fox Facts, Hawk Facts, Raccoon Facts, Flying Squirrels, Sea Lion Facts, Minke Whales, or Killer Whale Facts.

Return to Simply San Juan from Gray Whale.


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