Where do Blue Whales go to die?


I just read several threads on where pigeons and birds go to die and the most common answer was that since most birds are pretty small, they get eaten by scavengers or flies and other insects/worms quickly after they die. Now where do Blue Whales go off to die, other than whaling ships? I’ve never seen or heard reports of dead blue whales on beach shores(although I’ve heard of Sperm whales going to the shore to die). Do they just sink to the bottom and get eaten by scavenging sea creatures?

Many whales do sink to the bottom to die. There are entire communities of scavenging organisms that appear at dead whale carcasses (although it’s something of a mystery as to how they locate and colonize such a rare food source). I suppose many blue whales also wash up on shore if the conditions are right when they die, but I am unaware of any instances of this happening recently.

It’s a big ocean out there, and a lot of it is very far away from land.

Blue whales were never targeted by whalers in the age of sail. Aside from being too fast to be overtaken by the ships of the age, they would sink when killed. It wasn’t until the development of the motorized factory ship and the pneumatic harpoon (which inflated the carcass so it could be recovered) that they became a commercially viable species.

Whale carcases, or “whale falls” are being investigated as a dispersal means for the organisms that live in deep-sea vent communities. The same bacterial mats that are necessary for the vent community ecosystems are found on dead whales on the sea floor. Further reading available here

I have seen more than one nature program where the sharks are rapidly eating the whales.

Of course these whales floated but
I don’t see why it would be different.

This makes me wonder if whales beach themselves (I will assume that they actually do beach themselves and it’s not just an old seamans yarn) because of an overwhelming urge not to drown. I may be personifying, but I would guess that whales are intelligent enough to know that they ran the risk of drowning if they couldn’t stay at the surface when they were ill.

Or I could be full of crap…, makes me wonder though.

There was recently a very large and very stinky unidentified whale drifting some 200m off a swimming beach near where I live and there was some concern over what to do if it drifted ashore as the beach is surrounded by an urban area. It however drifted off with the tide to where ever whales go much to everyones relief.

Did any one else see footage of the huge whale buffet that ensued of the coast of Australia when a large whale was hit and killed by a Container Ship. I became a large tourist attraction for a while.

More to the point, did anybody see the footage of the moron who jumped from a boat to the whale carcass and stood on top of it while sharks massed and thrashed around him?@

Yes! He was a potential Darwin Award, nominee in the making. :slight_smile:

Check out the infamous Exploding Whale clip!
A dead whale had washed up on the beach of a small town. Town officials did not have the equipment necessary to bury the whale or tow it back out to sea. So someone got the bright idea to use a LOT of dynamite and well . . . see for yourself.

Addresses what whale species tend to sink in one of the
chapters of Moby Dick. Melville had served on whaling
vessels and was speaking from firsthand experience. Not all dead whales sink. Whalers would often go after blasted whales, dead whales floating on the surface, as they were the best source of ambergris.