Blubber is Best
A gray whale's normal internal temperature is about 99 degrees F, but in their summer feeding grounds whales are often in water only 37 to 39 degrees F. Brrrr! A thick layer (5 or 6 inches) of blubber under the skin provides insulation against the frigid arctic waters. The blubber layer keeps their bodies from losing valuable heat. Blubber also helps make whales buoyant. Pregnant females have the thickest blubber because they have unborn babies to protect. Blubber is different from body fat. It's a mix of fibrous, fatty and connective tissues honeycombed with large oil-filled cells. Blubber stores food energy; whales can eat huge amounts of food when and where food is abundant, and then survive when and where food is scarce. The blubber supplies energy during migration when the whales eat little or nothing. Blubber is best!

Breeching gray whale

Image: Debbie Kinsora