whale digestion

From: Nancy Stevick (Nancy.Stevick@btinternet.com)
Date: Fri Feb 04 2000 - 07:03:32 EST


On 3 February 2000, Jim Delaune wrote:

>Hello Nancy,
>
>My 5 yr. old son & I were watching a PBS program that described how
>humpback whales encircle schools of fish with a bubble net, then rise up
>& swallow a mouthful. He asked some questions I couldn't answer:
>
>Do whales chew?
>If not, exactly when & how does the fish die?
>
>I remembered that whales have 4 stomach compartments, like cows, but I'm
>not sure whether how a fish gets turned into digestible soup within the
>whale.
>
>Thank for your time!
>
>Jim & Joss Delaune
>Tucson, AZ
>
Dear Jim and Joss,

Humpback whales do not chew their food. They can't since they have no
teeth! They actually swallow their food whole and alive. The fish die and
are broken down as they travel through the whales' large and long digestive
system.

Best wishes,
Nancy



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