Gray whales are often covered with parasites and other organisms that make their snouts and backs look like a crusty ocean rock.
The whale uses its snout to forage by dislodging tiny creatures from the seafloor. It then filters these morsels with its baleen—a comblike strainer of plates in the upper jaw. A piece of gray whale baleen, also called whalebone, is about 18 inches long and has a consistency much like a fingernail. Whalebone was once used to make ladies' corsets and umbrella ribs.
The gray whale is one of the animal kingdom's great migrators. Traveling in groups called pods, some of these giants swim 12,430 miles round-trip from their summer home in Alaskan waters to the warmer waters off the