Right whales like the North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) are among the rarest of all marine mammal species. These baleen whales have two separate populations – western and eastern.
© Brian Skerry / National Geographic Stock
North Atlantic right whales eat zooplankton and krill, which they use their baleen plates to filter out of the water.
The western North Atlantic right whale population, which inhabits the waters off the East coast of the United States and Canada, today contains roughly 350 individuals. The eastern population, which was once found from the coast of northern Europe to the northwest coast of Africa, is already nearly, if not completely, extinct
Did You Know?
Right whales got their name because whalers thought they were the "right" ones to hunt, as they float when dead and often swim within sight of the shore.
North Atlantic right whales range from Nova Scotia to the southeastern United States and migrate the length of the U.S. east coast. They are occasionally found within European waters.
Right whales are slow swimmers and average up to 6 miles per hour. They are known to make brief shallow dives in succession before submerging themselves underwater for up to 20 minute at a time. They usually travel solo or in small groups.
Did You Know?
The right whale's scientific name, Eubalaena glacialis, means "good, or true, whale of the ice."
Right whales are also known to emit low frequency sounds that may be a form of communication. When they feed, the water skimming across their baleen plates creates a clicking "baleen rattle."
Mating Season: During winter.
Gestation: 1 year.
Litter size: 1 calf.
Females give birth every 3-5 years and at birth, calves tend to be between 13-15 feet long.