Summer is here!
Summer has started and that means that the humpback is back in Monterey. They have been away on a tropical vacation in the warm tropical waters of Mexico. While they were down there the pregnant female gave birth to their new calves and the males competed for the attention of the females that are ready to mate again. Now that they are back in Monterey it is time for them to start concentrating on eating, as humpback whales do not eat while they are down in the tropical waters. This means that on average a single Humpback Whale can lose up to 1/3 of their body weight while in the tropical waters. Females that have given birth loose the most weight as they are not only supporting themselves but their new born calves. Once the mother determine that her calf is strong enough they will begin the long swim together from Mexico to Monterey. Once they reach Monterey they join the males and newly pregnant females that left the warm waters a few months earlier to feed. The main food scores of the Humpback Whales here in Monterey are Sardines and Anchovies. A single whale can eat up to 4,400 to 5,500 pounds of fish a day! That a lot of fish! In order to eat this much fish Humpback Whales, have 5-10 through groves, called ventral plates, that run down from the chin to their belly button. These groves allow the whales throat to balloon out during feeding allowing the whales to take in large gulps of water and fish, this equates to about 5,000 gallons (18,927 liters)! Even with this staggering amount of water in their mouths humpback whales to do not swallow nor drink salt water, instead they get the majority of their water from the food that they eat. Once they take in all that food they take their large tongue and push all the water out of their mouth through their baleen thus trapping the fish in their mouth witch they then swallow down their relatively small throats, about the size of a grape fruit. The feeding behaviors of Humpback Whales can happen at any level of the water column including the surface. While here in Monterey Humpbacks will try and pack on 8 to 10 inches of blubber and thus are eating all the time. So, come out and join us during the summer and you might be lucky enough to see some surface feeding from our Humpback Whales.