here are my whale questions: throat size and hunger pangs

Date: Thu Oct 26 2000 - 16:14:28 EDT

Hi Kori..

Thanks for your letter. I will try to answer your super questions as best as
I can.

Q: What would happen if a person swam into a mysticetes mouth? Could a person
be swallowed?

A: As big as whales are, they have a very narrow throat and esophagus. A
lot of food goes down a very narrow opening. So, a person could not get
swallowed. Gulls could not easily fit down a whale's esophagus.

Q: Do whales feel really hungry when they do not eat?

A: Most likely they do at some point. And survival may be a reason for the
timing of an individual whales return trip back to northern feeding grounds.
Essentially, whales that fast during mating activities, and take long
migrations, are starving themselves. An average humpback adult loses 15 tons
of weight in 3 months.

Thanks, and say hello to Mr. Mahon, that great teacher of yours


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