Today we will focus on two sea animals who migrate… whales and manatees. I have given you info on whales and manatees separately in case you want to do one or do it on separate days.
Following Papa’s Song by Gianna Marino
Let’s learn about the migrations!
View gray whales migrate from Alaska to Mexico and back
Whales spend their summers by the poles and the migrate to warmer waters near the equator for the winter. A large reason for this migration is to have their young in the warmer waters since babies are born with less blubber and would not survive the cold waters near the poles.
Whales do not eat during their migration and what they eat depends on the type of whale. There are two large categories of whales toothed whales, which have teeth (which include the beluga, narwhal, dolphins and other porpoise). These whales are predators and eat other animals. The other group of whales are baleen whales (including blue, humpback and gray whales). These whale eat by sifting out prey in the waters they swim.
Baleen whales are larger and most migrate long distances to protect their new calves. Such as these migration paths below:
Gray whales, which migrate between Alaska and Russia and Baja California
North Atlantic right whales, which appear to move between cold waters off the Northeastern US and Canada to waters off South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.
Humpback whales, which move between northern feeding grounds and southern breeding grounds.
Blue whales. In the Pacific, blue whales migrate from California to Mexico and Costa Rica.facts from ThoughtCo Whale Migration
Manatee Winter by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld
See video of manatee in their winter migration area, Blue Springs State Park in Orange City, FL.
Manatees are gentle marine mammals. They cannot survive in waters below 60F (16C) and barely tolerate temperatures below 68F (20C).
In the summers Florida Manatees, a subread of the West Indian Manatee, can be typically be found from the coast off Virginia and then around Florida and over to Texas. But in the winter months they can only be found off the coast of Florida. They need to move inland towards more natural springs to find warmer waters and food.
So why do manatees migrate? Even though they weight nearly 1/2 a ton, they do not have much body fat. So they are unable to withstand the temperature changes in the water during the winter. Manatees are herbivores who munch on sea grass and can move between fresh and salt water areas. They move slowly and spend half the day sleeping.