Whale found on a beach in Portugal

I noticed in the news recently that a fairly small dead whale had washed up on the shores of Portugal.

Always a sad occurrence and in this case a fairly rare one in Portugal although there are are several west coast beaches bearing the name “baleia” or whale.

Obviously animals can die of a wide range of medical problems in more modern times strandings of whales have been linked to the activity of war ships and submarines using sonar.

The whale was cut up by marine biologists and removed from the beach.

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Cuvier’s beaked whale

Identified as a Cuvier’s beaked whale which feeds on several species of squid it also preys on deep-sea fish. These whales can live for 40 years so lets hope this one fulfilled its allotted time

Cuvier’s beaked whale feeds on several species of squid it catches in impressively deep water.

In 2014, scientists reported that they had used satellite-linked tags to track Cuvier’s beaked whales off the coast of California and found the animals dove up to 2,992 meters (nearly two miles) below the ocean surface and spent up to two hours and 17 minutes underwater before resurfacing.


Which represent both the deepest and the longest dives ever documented for any mammal. I thought that this depth was amazing and the schoolboy in me wanted to know how it compared to submarines.

World War II German U-boats generally had “collapse depths” in the range of 200 to 280 meters (660 to 920 feet).(they were not allowed to go to this depth)

Modern nuclear attack submarines like the American Seawolf class are estimated to have a test depth of 490 m (1,600 ft),[1] which would imply a collapse depth of 730 m (2,400 ft).

Hugely impressive numbers for the subs. I have placed a link above so that you can see one in action. As big and powerful as they are you would never get me inside one.

The whales achievement is all the more impressive as it is making these dives while looking for dinner.

 Cuvier’s can be found in deep, offshore waters from the tropics to the cool temperate seas. In the North Pacific, it occurs as far north as the Aleutians and in the North Atlantic as far north as Massachusetts in the west to the Shetlands in the east. In the Southern Hemisphere, it occurs as far south as Tierra del Fuego, South Africa, southern Australia, New Zealand, and the Chatham Islands. It also frequents such inland bodies of waters as the gulfs of Mexico and likely the Caribbean and Mediterranean Seas.

 Cuvier’s beaked whale may be one of the most common and abundant of the beaked whales, with a worldwide population likely well over 100,000. There are estimated to be about 80,000 in the eastern tropical Pacific, nearly 1,900 off the west coast of the United States (excluding Alaska), and more than 15,000 off Hawaii.

Lets hope the next whale that you see is swimming.