On Sunday, January 26, 2014, a lucky group of whale watchers got to witness gray whales mating just off the backside of Catalina Island. This exciting encounter included a great flash of a gray whale’s penis. Suddenly a male’s privates were not so private if you know what I mean.
It’s not super common to catch whales in the act off Southern California, but common enough that whale watchers have dubbed a whale’s penis the “pink floyd” (see photo above for explanation). Here are a few interesting facts about a gray whale’s penis:
- It’s about six feet long (gray whales average 40 to 45 feet, so that’s just par for the course).
- It’s stored within the gray whale’s abdomen underneath the skin (otherwise it would cause a lot of drag).
- It’s whipped out and retracted through an opening within the skin called the uro-genital slit.
- It has great elasticity and can be moved all around and positioned by the gray whale for maximum effect and in this case maximum spectacle.
If you would like to see more of this gray whale mating encounter, some of it was also captured on video by Captain Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari (see below). A few dolphins also seemed interested in the action, along with a paddleboarder who seems way too close. My favorite is when someone yells, “Get a lagoon!”
All I can say is that I really hope to see a pink floyd myself one day, but from a distance of course, definitely from a distance.
(A big thanks to Carla Mitroff for generously sharing her photo for this post! Also, for more fun gray whale facts, check out my post Gray whales: on the road again.)