Gray whales are the most coastal of the baleen whales (whales lacking teeth) and are often found within a few miles of shore as they migrate from Alaska to Baja.
To feed, they fill their vast mouths with mud from the sea bottom and filter it through their baleen to capture amphipods and other small animals. This is the only type of whale to feed in this manner. On average, gray whales are 36 feet long; however, they can grow to be as long as 40 feet and weigh up to 35 tons. They have robust bodies that are mottled gray, marked with orange patches that are caused by parasitic whale lice. Their heads often have areas encrusted by barnacles.