Sperm whale Cleethorpes: Animal thought to have died after washing up on a beach near Grimsby in Lincolnshire
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A sperm whale is believed to have died after it washed up on a shore on the east coast of England. British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) was contacted on Friday (April 7) at around 12.15pm to assist with a “large, stranded whale” on a beach at Cleethorpes near Grimsby in Lincolnshire.
According to the BDMLR, the whale had been spotted upright in the water around noon, but when it reached the beach it was laying on its side.
A spokesperson for the charity said: "HM Coastguard and Cleethorpes beach safety team were able to get photographs to help us make a positive identification, and keep the public safe on what can be a dangerous area.
"Unfortunately, the tide was rising quickly and therefore there was no way for BDMLR medics to safely access the whale, and it was soon under the water. The beach safety team were able to show our medics CCTV footage of the whale before it became submerged, and it did appear to have passed away."
The charity believes the whale is a male, as it is very rare for female sperm whales to swim this far north, with the only UK recording of one being in 2016.
How big is a sperm whale?
The sperm whale is the largest of the toothed whales and the largest toothed predator. Mature males grow to an average of 16 metres (52 ft) in length, with the head representing up to one-third of that size.
Why is a sperm whale called a sperm whale?
According to the NOAA Fisheries website, sperm whales are named after the waxy substance found in their heads called spermaceti. A spokesperson for the body of marine auditors, said: "The spermaceti is an oil sac that helps the whales focus sound. Spermaceti was used in oil lamps, lubricants, and candles."