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This whale's mouth is open so you can see the baleen.

Photo Renee Bonner

Seeing Clues: How do Gray Whales Eat?
Gray whales have large appetites! But they don't eat with forks and knives like we do. Instead they have rows of baleen that look like broom bristles. The baleen hangs from their upper jaws. It helps the whale strain small animals called amphipods out of the mud on the bottom of the ocean.

Gray whales are unique feeders because they dive to the bottom, suck in a mouthful of mud and water, and then use their giant tongue to push the muddy water out of their mouth, leaving the amphipods and other yummy animals behind on the baleen. Then they swallow the food.

It is estimated that a gray whale can eat up to 2,400 pounds of food in one day!

Thank you, Staci Shaut: Birch Aquarium, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

 

More About Baleen

 

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