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Northern Right Whale

Northern Right Whale Facts

Size 42-59 ft (13-18 m)
Speed Up to 5 mph (8 km/h)
Weight 40-80 tons
Lifespan 50 years
Food Little crabs, small fish
Predators Big sharks, Orcas
Habitat Atlantic and Pacific Oceans
Order Whales
Suborder Baleen whales
Family Right whales
Scientific name Eubalaena glacialis (North Atlantic), Eubalaena japonica (North Pacific)
Characteristics Often has a “cap“ of barnacles on its head

Main Characteristics

Northern right whales are large right whales from the baleen whale family. They are found in the Pacific and North Atlantic.

Northern Right Whale Photo: Steve Meese/Shutterstock

From here you find facts submitted by fan Annamarie:


Author AnnamarieNorthern Right Whale Species

Which Species Are There?

One distinguishes between the North Atlantic right whale with a population of about 300-350 animals and the North Pacific right whale with less than 1,000 animals.

Northern Right Whales Don't Have Pectoral Fins

Contrary to other whales, this family does not have a fin and only short pectoral fins next to the flukes. They also don’t have any neck furrows.

Physical Description

Northern Right Whale Appearance

Northern Right whales have a rather plump rump and a large head that accounts for 25% of its body length. The torso is strongly curved. They have an arc-shaped mouth. The strongly curved upper jaw is almost hidden behind the massive underjaw. The flippers are about 6.5 feet (2 meters) long, the flukes even more than 6.5 feet (2 meters).

Northern Right Whales Wear Caps on Their Heads

At least this is what it looks like. The Northern right whale has got distinct barnacles on its head. The largest one is called “cap”. Whale scientists are even able to distinguish between individual animals on the basis of the “cap”.


What Do Northern Right Whales Eat?

The Northern right whale consumes 528 gallons (2,000 liters) of plankton soup every day by gliding along slightly below the water surface with its mouth open.


Northern Right Whale Illustration: KBel/Shutterstock

Enemies and Threats

Northern Right Whales Are Endangered

The Northern right whale is one of the rarest big whales. Experts assume that only a few hundred of them still exist. This is mainly due to whale hunting. Northern right whales mostly stay close to the water surface when looking for food and this makes them an easy prey.

Fun Facts

Why Are They Called "Right" Wales?

English whale hunters called these whales "right whales", because they were the "right" to hunt: slow swimmers, often lingering near the coast, providing lots of fat and oil.

These facts were submitted by fan Annamarie. Thanks!

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