Re: Whales, strand

From: Dagmar Fertl (
Date: Mon Mar 12 2001 - 14:32:03 EST

To whom this may concern:

> Yes, I did find many questions regarding whale strandings. Although, do we know the reason as to why Pilot whales are the most common beached whales? Why they are named Pilot Whales and I believe the false whale? How often do they beach during a year? Does it have anything to do with the season?
> That's All the questions I can think of right now, but if I have anymore I'll send them your way, thank you very much.
> Student
Dear Student,
You hear about pilot whales and false killer whales as being the most common, because they are the most common mass stranders. This is the type of stranding event that receives a lot of public attention, since it is so dramatic. False killer whales probably got their name because they, like killer whales, eat other dolphins. Pilot whales probably got their name because they were often seen by ship captains, almost as directing boat traffic to shore. Something like that. As for how often they beach in a year, that'll depend on the cause of death. It doesn't really have to do with season. We do know that the areas with the most mass strandings like like areas with geomagnetic anomalies - meaning that the magnetic field of the earth is kind of screwed up in that point, and may be a reason that the whales strand. Who knows. Seems if that was the only reason, that they would strand all the time every day in that spot. The guide "Marine Mammals Ashore" and Peter Evans' "The Natural History of Whales and Dolphins" both have good information on the cause of marine mammal strandings. Hope this helps.

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