Saturday April 13, 2024

Sperm whales drop giant poop bombs to defend against killer whales

Sperm whales launch 'diarrhea cloud' to escape orca attack

By Web Desk
March 23, 2024

To prevent an impending orca attack off the southern coast of Western Australia, sperm whales blasted a "big dark bubble" of poop.

During a tourist excursion in Bremer Canyon, a whale-watching hotspot off the coast between Albany and Hopetoun, the clever defense strategy was witnessed by the scientists.

They described the scene as a "cloud of diarrhea" permeating the water. According to ABC News Australia, this rarely seen defense mechanism seemed to help the sperm whale pod escape what could have been a fatal attack by at least 30 killer whales.

"It's called defense defecation," Jennah Tucker, a marine biologist with Oceans Blueprint, a marine and environmental sciences research organisation, who was on the charter boat, told ABC.

When the animals defecate, they pass their huge tails through their poop to drive away or confuse attackers, she said.

"Because [a] sperm whale's diet consists mostly of squid, they actually have this really reddish coloured poo," she said.

"This is called a rosette, another defensive mechanism they use when they're under attack," Tucker said.

The big, blobby poop bubble rising to the water's surface was seen by the researchers in the midst of this mayhem.