- Published: 06 September 2009
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Martin Kravitz, age 10 of Philadelphia, Penn for his question:
Can a whale swallow a person?
The blue baleen whale is the biggest animal that ever lived on land or in the sea. Hs may be 100 feat long and weigh more than 100 tons. Yet this monster of the deep ocean has a throat no bigger then your fist. Hs would most likely choke if lie tried to swallow an orange. He feeds on plankton, a seafood salad off` finely shredded seaweed and little swimmers no bigger than shrimps. The big blue whale needs about one,ton of food each day. But he could not swallow a man. Nor could he bite a man into smaller pieces, for this whale has no teeth. He sifts his plankton through a curtain of baleen or whalebone which hangs down from the roof of his mouth.
The gentle giant, however, has several toothy cousins with throats big enough to swallow a man. One is the savage little killer whale, no more than 30 feet long. This greedy gangster hunts with a pack of his friends, The killer whale is a cannibal, for he attacks other whales, porpoises and dolphins. These animals are cousins, all members of the order Cetacea. A dozen porpoises arms a dozen seals were found in the stomach of one killer whale ‑ all had been swallowed whole. The vicious black and white killer whale, then could easily swallow a man.
The Old Testament says Jonah was swallowed and stayed inside a great fish for three days, The New Testament sags that this huge animal was a whale. Jonah's whale was most likely a great sperm whale, This 80 foot sea monster has toothy jaws strong enough to snap and splinter a sizable row boat, His daily ration is a ton of giant squid and cuttlefish. He can swallow a ten foot shark or a human being with ease,
Jonah's hair‑raising story comas to us from long ago. But we have a more modern story very much like it.
This report comes from the captain and crew of a whaling ship around 1898.. The victim was a seaman named James Bartley who fell overboard and, like Jonah, was swallowed by a whale. The crew knew that the big animal was one of the sperm whales they were hunting, He was soon captured and hauled on board,
The big whale was cut open and there was the unconscious body of Jones Bartleys 24 hours after he had been swallowed. Bartley's skin was bleached white by the digestive juices in the body of the whale, For some weeks he suffered from the shock of his ghastly adventure: He finally recovered and returned to work as a whaler, or so we are told in this story of many years ago.
Bartley’s story may or may not be true. But we know for sure that many a whaler has been swallowed by a whales either whole or in chunks. Many a shipwrecked sailor has ended up inside a. whale top peps. These toothy man‑eaters are most likely the sperm whale or killer whales. The giant of the family, the blue baleen whale, could not swallow a kitten.