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Published byAiden Craig
Modified over 2 years ago
General About 30 different marine mammals have been reported in Virginias coastal areas.
Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin The most common marine mammal along our coast is the bottlenose dolphin.
Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin They are found from late spring well into the late fall. They can grow to 12 feet and weigh 1400 pounds.
Other Dolphin Less common in Virginia waters are the stripped and saddleback dolphin. These two tend to be found more often in the offshore waters.
Pilot Whales Pilot whales are over 17 feet in length as adults. They are usually found on the continental shelf where they feed on squid.
Pilot Whales Lacking the beak that is found with the true dolphins, the head is large and blunt. This species is often seen by offshore tuna fishermen.
Harbor Porpoise This is only true porpoise found in the North Atlantic. It is a cold water species that is only found here in the early spring.
Harbor Porpoise This is a small cetacean which has a maximum length of five feet.
Harbor Porpoise Although they are found inshore, they are timid creatures that are not easily sighted.
Harbor Porpoise Of all of the cetaceans they have the shortest lifespan. They are capable of reaching 20 years, but few do.
Sperm Whales Sperm whales are the largest of the toothed whales. Found in all the worlds oceans, they are found offshore of the Virginia coast.
Sperm Whales They have huge heads! And posses the largest brain of any creature that ever lived! Forty percent of their body weight is from their head.
Sperm Whales Sperm whales can dive to 3000 feet where they feed on large squid. They can stay submerged for over an hour.
Sperm Whales Sperm whales have 18 to 25 teeth on each side of their lower jaw. These teeth fit into sockets in the upper jaw.
Sperm Whales Adult males reach lengths of feet and weigh up to 45 tons! Adult females are much smaller with a weight of only 14 tons.
Sperm Whales Newborn calves weigh approximately one ton and are feet long.
Fin Whales Fin whales grow to a length of 79 feet and are second in size only to the blue whale. They can weigh tons!
Fin Whales Like the blue whales, they have an expandable throat grooves which are used when feeding.
Fin Whales They have a varied diet which includes squid, capelin, lanternfish, herring and krill.
Fin Whales Fin whales are also one of the fastest whales. They are called the greyhounds of the sea as they travel over 23 mph.
Fin Whales Fin whales have been found stranded in Virginia waters on many occasions.
Fin Whales Many believe they are the most abundant large whale in our waters.
Fin Whales Fin whales apparently sleep on the surface at night, and thus are subject to collisions with ships.
Fin Whales One fin whale was inadvertently brought into Norfolk Harbor draped across the bow of a freighter.
Humpback Whales Humpback whales are known for their long fins and complex songs.
Humpback Whales Humpback whales Grow to about 50 feet which is about the length of a school bus.
Humpback Whales Humpback whales are easily recognized by their long flippers and white bellies.
Humpback Whales This whale is probably seen by more whale watchers than any other of the large baleen whales.
Humpback Whales Humpbacks filter their food through baleen plates. They consume krill, anchovies, sardines, mackerel and other schooling fish.
Humpback Whales Humpback whales can live up to 80 years!
Northern Right Whales Right whales are about the same size as humpback whales and are occasionally found off our coast.
Northern Right Whales Right whales were named by whalers who considered them the right whales to hunt.
Northern Right Whales They were rich in blubber, easy to catch and they floated after being killed.
Northern Right Whales Right whales can be easily recognized by the large whitish bumps called callosities which are found on their heads
Northern Right Whales Right whales are filter feeders that feed on plankton. They swim around slowly with their mouths open.
Harbor Seals This is the only seal species that might be encountered in Virginia.
Harbor Seals They have been encountered near the mouth of the bay and up the James River to Hopewell.
Harbor Seals Seals can be distinguished by their lack of an external ear and wide tail flippers that point back.
Harbor Seals Harbor seals feed on fish, sea birds and shellfish.
West Indian Manatee There have been several sightings of manatees in Virginia waters. This includes sightings on the Hampton River and the James.
West Indian Manatee Manatees are slow moving herbivores that feed on aquatic plants. They can grow over 13 feet.
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