North Atlantic Right Whales

For current information, photos and videos visit my blog at  RIGHTWHALEWATCH.BLOGSPOT.COM.

Quick Facts

Estimated World Population: 350 - 400

Status: Endangered

Habitat: Northeastern Coastline of Canada and New England USA

Range: Newfoundland to Florida

Length: 45 - 55 feet

Weight: up to 70 tons

Diet: Plankton, especially copepods, strained through baleen plates in the mouth
Top speed: 10 mph, for brief periods
Diving ability: to 1,000 feet depth, for 40 minutes

Life span was: 50 - 70 yrs 

Life span now: 15 yrs. Decrease due to ship strikes and entanglements

Appearance: The North Atlantic right whale is a large, mostly black whale with whitish patches on the head and belly, no dorsal fin, and a graceful, deeply notched "fluke," or tail. Like blue whales and humpbacks--and unlike killer whales and sperm whales--it has long, mustache-like fringes of baleen instead of teeth, which it uses to strain tiny animals from the water for food. Two blowholes on the top of its head give a distinctive V-shape to a right whale's spout. It is one of the most endangered marine mammals in the world.

Breeding: Females begin breeding around the age of 9 years and give birth every 3 - 6 years. The gestation period is 12 to 14 months and once a year the pregnant females and a few others migrate from their New England habitat (typically Cape Cod) down to the Georgia and Florida coast to give birth. The calves are 10 - 15 feet long and weigh around 1.5 tons at birth.

The Hammock Land

Hammock: A piece of land thickly wooded, and usually covered with bushes and vines. Used also adjectively; as, hammock land.

The Turtle Patrol

                                    The Loggerhead Sea Turtle grow to an average weight of about 200 pounds

                                    and feeds on mollusks, crustaceans, fish, and other marine animals. The

                                    nesting season extends from about May through August with nesting

                                    occurring primarily at night. Loggerheads are known to nest from one to

                                    seven times within a nesting season (mean is about 4.1 nests per season) at

                                    intervals of approximately 14 days. Mean clutch size varies from about 100

                                    to 126 along  the southeastern United States coast. Incubation ranges from about 45 to 95 days, depending on incubation temperatures, but averages 55 to 60 days for most clutches in Florida. Hatchlings generally emerge at night. Remigration intervals of 2 to 3 years are most common in nesting loggerheads, but remigration can vary from 1 to 7 years. Age at sexual maturity is believed to be about 20 to 30 years. The powerful jaws of the loggerhead allow it to easily crush the clams, crabs, and other armored animals it eats. A slow swimmer compared to other sea turtles, the loggerhead occasionally falls prey to sharks, and individuals missing flippers or chunks of their shell are not an uncommon sight. However, the loggerhead compensates for its lack of speed with stamina; for example, a loggerhead that had been tagged at Melbourne Beach was captured off the coast of Cuba 11 days later.

Baby Sea Turtles Use Earth's Magnetic Field To Navigate Across

Atlantic Ocean And Back

ScienceDaily (Oct. 16, 2001) — CHAPEL HILL – Working in Florida, scientists have found what they believe is the strongest evidence yet that baby loggerhead turtles "read" the Earth’s magnetic field to help them navigate the massive clockwise current that sweeps the northern Atlantic Ocean. Read more...Baby Sea Turtles Use Earth's Magnetic Field To Navigate Across Atlantic Ocean And Back

Websites & Resources:


Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Great Florida Birding Trail Home Page

Florida scrub-jay information | North Florida ESO Jacksonville

Washington Oaks Gardens State Park » Florida State Parks

Fish and Wildlife Research Institute


The Marineland Right Whale Project

Associated Scientists at Woods Hole

Right Whale Watch Volunteer Blog

NOAA Fisheries Service - Southeast Region

Loggerhead sea turtle Fact Sheet

Whitney Lab for Marine Science - Marineland/UF

Right Whale Consortium

Report a Whale Sighting

Provincetown Coastal Studies

National Office of Protected Resources

Listen for Whales - Cornell Lab

Science Daily: News & Articles in Science, Health, Environment & Technology

Maritime Folklife, Library of Congress)

Fish and Wildlife Research Institute


Glossary of Geological Terms

Geography Glossary -

Learnings From Life on the Ocean