From: Kim Marshall-Tilas (
Date: Sun Dec 17 2000 - 12:14:04 EST

>i heard that whales get sick,and that they go on land too viomit and lay
>on the beach until their sickness pass is this true

When whales beach themselves on land it is called stranding. No one
really knows why whales strand but with networks managed by the
National Marine Fisheries Service and NOAA we are learning more and
more every day. Most mass strandings of whales occur with toothed
whales that live in pods with social hierarchies. It is believed that
if the leader of the group gets sick or disoriented the others simply
follow the leader onto the shore. Others believe that if there is a
illness throughout the group they will mass strand and die so as not
to transfer disease.

Another theory is that their sonar used for navigation may get
absorbed by particulates in the water near areas with a lot of
upwelling ie: Cape Cod, causing them to misinterpret information and
basically they end up crashing on land.

The last, but not least is the theory of the earth's magnetic pull
and the possible affect it may have in certain geographic areas on
their ability to navigate.

Also search
or how to pages for more information on whale strandings.
Thank you and good luck!

Kim Marshall-Tilas
Senior Director
Ocean Alliance/Whale Conservation Institute
191 Weston Road, Lincoln, MA  01773
781.259.0423 or fax 259.0288

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