Featured Image Credit: Doug Perrine
By: Sarah Sharkey
A rare Bryde’s whale was spotted near the oil platforms off the coast of Huntington Beach, California. Captain Ryan Lawler was the lucky man to see it, but as he looked through his lens he noticed something was not quite right.
There were pink flesh wounds in perfect circles all over the whale’s skin. He snapped a few pictures of the interesting wounds and consulted with an expert about them. Apparently, the wounds were received from a cookiecutter shark.
This shark is a species that feeds on marine mammals and usually leaves perfectly circular scars on the animal. They are nocturnal feeders though so most people never see the shark, just the wounds that they leave behind. The scars really stand out because they look as if someone used an actual cookie cutter on the skin of a marine mammal.
The Bryde’s whale was about six miles offshore near a shelf looking for food. He was happy to see the whale, even with its scars because of its rarity. According to Lawler, the whales “kind of show up here when the water gets warm.”
Lawler said that he was happy to document this whale as experts are working to build a catalog of Bryde’s whales.
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