The corpse of a sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) in an advanced state of decomposition was found beached on Thursday afternoon on the rocks at the Juan Aparicio de Torrevieja promenade, near the natural pools. The cetacean’s body was dragged up onto the shore by the eastern tide.
In one of the busiest areas of the Torrevieja coastline, dozens of onlookers witnessed the spectacle as they crowded around to take photographs and videos of the animal’s body, despite the pungent stench. Many residents closed their balconies and windows, while others removed their chairs and sunbeds from their terraces.
The Torrevieja Local Police sealed off a wide perimeter around the coastline to prevent curious visitors from approaching. A patrol remained on watch throughout the afternoon and night, while dozens of onlookers stopped to observe the animal’s body, more than six metres in length.
The municipal services dragged the corpse away from the shoreline so that the surrounding bathing areas could be used, with the help of the Local Police and Maritime Rescue boat. They continued with their efforts, finally removing it from the water at Sal de Torrevieja promenade where it was loaded onto a vehicle for examination and disposal.
Male sperm whales can grow up to 20.5 meters long and weigh more than 50 tons. One of their main characteristics is that the head measures a third of the total length of the body and they have the largest brain and teeth among animals.
The main causes of death are collisions with boats or the ingestion of plastics.
Photos courtesy of MeteOrihuela, Twitter.