7 Strange Things Swallowed by Whales

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Most whales, particularly the baleen variety, are bottom feeders. They typically feed by sucking in sediment in shallow waters and filter the contents to strain out the small organisms that live there such as shrimp, plankton, and small fish. Debris ingested along with their meal which include rocks or wood, although, as globalization increases recent necropsy in whales showed a strange array of objects in their guts.  Below are seven strange things found in the stomachs and guts of whales—some inanimate, some living, some amusing, and some just sad.

1. A Golf Ball

courtesy of Lotus Head, used under Creative Commons license. 

In 2008, a golf ball was discovered in the bowels of a beached gray whale in Washington. The whale was dead on arrival, although, scientists don’t believe the digested golf ball was not related to its death.

2. Sweat Pants

courtesy of Punkt 8, used under Creative Commons license. 

It was found in the same whale that swallowed a golf ball.

3. Polar Bears

courtesy of Alan Wilson, used under Creative Commons license. 

Typically, killer whales subsist on diets of fish; some even dine on baleen whales, penguins, and smaller marine mammals like seals, sea lions, and otters. Sometimes, though, the whales are found with digested pieces of polar bears, moose, reptiles, and many other animals in their guts.

4. Endangered Species

courtesy of PMX, used under Creative Commons license.           

Critically endangered European eels spend most of their lives in freshwater. But when they fully mature and become sexually aroused, they return to the warm ocean waters of the Sargasso Sea in the middle of the Atlantic to spawn and then die. Unfortunately, not all of them make it to that final moment of coital bliss. Some are gobbled up by several different species of toothed whales in the eastern Atlantic.

5. Greenhouse Sheeting

courtesy of Quistnix, used under Creative Commons license. 

The tomatoes found at the produce aisles of the world’s major supermarkets were cultivated under the giant greenhouses in Almeria, Grenada. Unfortunately it is also responsible for the tons and tons of plastic sheeting increasingly found mangled inside the stomachs of whales. When the plastic sheets used to trap the heat of the sun and help nourish vegetables aren’t thrown away properly, they inevitably end up in the waters surrounding Europe, and eventually inside gray whales.

6. Cigarette Butts

courtesy of Silly Putty Enemies, used under Creative Commons license. 

Loads of cellulose acetate filters, or cigarette butts, have been found in the stomachs of whales.

7. More Trash

courtesy of Bengt Nyman, used under Creative Commons license. 

Recently, A gray whale was found deceased on the coast of the Netherlands. Experts who performed necropsy found dozens of plastic bags, nine meters of rope, two long pieces of garden hose, a couple of flower pots, and a plastic spray canister in its stomach. It’s an increasingly common occurrence: whales stuffed full of human garbage.

Let’s put our trash in the proper place, pretty simple yet very helpful


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