Sperm Whales Battle Hunting Orcas With Cloud Of Diarrhea In Rarely Recorded Moment

(Photo by ANDERSON COELHO/AFP via Getty Images)

Ilan Hulkower Contributor
Font Size:

Sperm whales managed to fend off a pod of orcas near the Australian coast by releasing a “cloud of diarrhea” Tuesday, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported.

Jennah Tucker, a witness to the event and a marine biologist, called the unusual tactic deployed by the sperm whales “defensive defecation.” She told ABC that it appeared to “work in this case.” (RELATED: Journalist Celebrates ‘Queer Sea’ After Photographers Capture Gay Whale Rape)

Tucker said that she witnessed a massive dark bubble rising to the ocean surface and thought this was the blood of a sperm whale that was harmed by the orcas.

“[T]here was [a] very solemn sort of mood on the deck of the boat because we thought they’d potentially taken out a calf, as one of the sperm whales did look significantly smaller than the others,” she told ABC.

“But then the killer whales all just moved off really suddenly,” Tucker said. Tucker only realized that the dark bubble was sperm whale diarrhea after reviewing the footage they captured of the incident with a team of scientists.

“We realised that the big dark bubble we’d seen and assumed might have been blood was actually poo,” she told the outlet.

She noted that the bowel movement probably saved their lives. “It was like the orcas said, no, not worth our time, everyone move out.”

It is highly unusual that orcas should attack sperm whales given that the latter are thought to be “an apex predator” and “pretty much immune to killer whale attacks,” Tucker added.

Orcas often hunt in pods of over 50 of their kind, ABC reported.

Tucker’s speciality revolves around her observational research on orcas, ABC reported. Tucker noted that orcas are so intelligent that they learned how to remove satellite tags. She has also praised the animals as very smart and methodical hunters. “The Orcas work together, you see the animal they’re taking down, and it’s not quick,” she told Australian Wildlife Journeys.