How Long Would It Take One Person to Eat a Blue Whale?

Assume they eat 2,500 calories of whale per day.

I would guess between 150 and 200 years.

Is this inspired by Shel Silverstein?

As a practical matter, the blue whale is going to turn into a rotten carcass and decay long before a person could eat it.

Getting into “assume a spherical cow” type calculations where we ignore rot, and just base this on size and general calories, we can plug through the math and see what kind of silly answer we get.

I don’t know the caloric content of a blue whale. Some googling shows that cows weigh about a thousand pounds, and one cow can make about a thousand quarter-pound burgers. With each burger coming in at roughly 300 calories, this give a typical cow about 300,000 calories. Admittedly, this ignores non-burger stuff that we eat, but since I also don’t know how meaty a blue whale is, let’s just run with these numbers and see what happens.

A blue whale (again according to google) weighs about 300,000 lbs, or as much as about 300 cows. Assuming a roughly similar caloric content per weight as cows, this puts our blue whale at 90,000,000 calories.

Divide that by 2500 calories per day, and you end up with 36,000 days, or a bit shy of 100 years.

For a dedicated musher, it’s only about 38 years and 8 months. The arctic chill keeps the whale nice and fresh for years, too. If his dog team gets to chow down too, the time can be cut to less than 5 years.

Don’t ask me how I know this.

Er what about freezer burn? yuck

5 years, for a great blue whale?
173 metric tons
110 feet long

I could not eat that in a life time

This is what Canadian natives would eat so this is about real world accurate as you are going to get. Scale up from the Beluga whale edible weight listed which is 300-500 lbs per whale with a body weight of 2000 - 3000 lbs for about a 6 to 1 ratio. Blue whales are 100x as large so a 250,000 lb blue whale would yield about 40,000 lbs of edible meat-skin-fat. Assuming a calorie load of 37% meat 63% muktuk

[whale meat (no fat is about 481 cals per lb -]( 0)

Muktuk skin+fat is 2106 cals per lb

so 40,000 lbs x .37 = 14,800 lbs lean meat and x .63 = 25,200 lbs of muktuk
53,071,200 calories of muktuk +7,118,800 of lean meat = 60,190,000 edible calories in a blue whale / 2500 per day = 24,076 days or 65.96 years

So, we are going to have a few years supply.

How is blue whale meat generally served?

Any good recipes for whale meat/muktuk?

i believe its eaten raw?

Assume it won’t rot.

My seat-of-the-pants calculations got me 149 years, but I figured you guys would come up with a better approach.

The question came up as a result of a “name the worst possible housepet” contest, which was handily won by my 8 year old niece. As unpleasant as a pet alligator or skunk might be, we all had to admit that the practical realities of trying to house a blue whale trumped all other considerations. In trying to come up with something positive to say about the prospect of a pet blue whale, I said, “well, if you got sick of keeping it as a pet, you could just eat it.” The question of how long that would take was inevitable.

Now, the reason we were all together was to celebrate my mom’s 75th birthday, now also known as “halfway done eating that whale.”

Of course, if astro’s calculations are correct, she’d already be finished.

Boy, talk about a lot of BarBQing! :smiley:


Braise the whales!

It seems astro’s got the best calculation. So we’re going to need 65 years worth of “good” recipes. That’s a tall / long / heavy order!

You will die of various ailments due to eating raw whale meat and blubber first.

Splendid. If there are no consumers, the meat will last even longer.

Assume no ill health effects from the all-whale diet.

I think the weak link in astro’s calculations is the assumption that the blue whale will have the same proportion of edible to non-edible material as a whale 100x as small and of a different species as well. I think the larger animal would at least have a greater proportion of edible weight, and the meat/muktuk proportion would probably be different as well.

But he definitely offers the best approach so far, and the caloric values of the meat and muktuk are probably similar between the species. So we just need to adjust for the different proportions.

So, anybody know anything about blue whale anatomy?

I think that was a fluke.

The most accurate large whale yield figures you could get are probably old science journal papers on whalers who kept fairly accurate figures for whale dimensions and rendered oil yield but I’m not sure they calculated meat yield or even kept the meat. I’m sure some scientific expeditions caught smaller whales and ate them and measured meat yield but I do not have access to this data.

Plus meat yield to a non-native English scientist may not include the muktuk which many (it is an acquired taste by all accounts) would consider inedible wastage vs the flesh. If we’re just talking lean whale “meat” as something westerners would eat the yield numbers are much smaller.

Don’t forget to factor out the weight of the oil.

One whale fueled a bunch of lamps in Colonial times.