Part of Humpback Whale Makes Smelly Visit to Oregon Coast
Photos Seaside Aquarium
(Warrenton, Oregon) – A disgusting and seriously deceased whale showed up on the north Oregon coast this past week – at least part of it did.
It's all proof of how nature, especially the ocean, likes to throw odd items at the human race every once in a while. Objects like these - usually long dead whales that wash up - are sometimes called "globsters," and there is a small subculture of science enthusiasts who follow the appearance of these.
Part of the crew from the Seaside Aquarium responded to the smelly object Monday, after finding out it had washed ashore Wednesday of last week. Keith Chandler, manager of the aquarium, said all that was there was a chunk of a Humpback whale, somewhere between the head and the general body – what he called the “throat” or neck area of the creature.
“There was no head that we saw,” Chandler said.
The chunk of whale was about 20 feet worth of the entire body. Humpbacks get up to as much as 45 feet long.
Chandler estimated it had been dead for months. It had been full grown, that much was apparent. It appeared just south of the wreck of the Peter Iredale on the beach of Fort Stevens State Park.
“It smelled pretty bad,” he said.
While the Portland area and inland part of Oregon were in freezing temperatures, the coast hit a high of 45 degrees, with a lot of sunny beaches that added to the ambient temperature. This made the whale chunk smell even worse.
Chandler said the crew only took some samples for the lab at the Marine Mammal Stranding Network and made some brief measurements of the chunk.
“Several chunks have come off,” Chandler said. “So it seems to be taking care of itself. The birds are pretty aware of it; they’ve been watching it. It’s moving its way south and into the tide, so it’s not going to go into the Peter Iredale. We’ll just let the birds finally consume it.”
Keeping people away from the potentially toxic section of corpse won’t be an issue, either.
“If they wanna get that smelly, go ahead,” Chandler said. “I think on this animal, you get a whiff of it, it takes care of itself.”
Humpback whales belong to the baleen whale suborder and are common in the Pacific ocean as well as any other ocean around the world. They are known for breaching and their complex whale songs. They can live up to 50 years in the wild.
Another whale on the same beach, earlier this year (photo Seaside Aquarium)
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