Are Whales Dangerous?

Many humans enjoy watching whales and even take trips to feed them or research their behavior. While watching whales, you could get pretty up close and personal with them. It’s only natural to wonder if it’s safe to be in their vicinity. Before you go on a whale watching trip or dive, you should know if there are potential risks and if so, how you can avoid them. Keep reading to find out if whales are dangerous or friendly creatures.

In general, whales are not dangerous to humans. If you’ve ever been to a marine park you have probably seen how tame they can be. Some perform tricks and work daily with humans to entertain an audience. It’s rare to find cases where they will harm people. Certain types, however, have been known to attack.When going whale watching you will usually be observing them from the safety of a boat. If you decide to go diving and get in the water with them, you also will not be seen as a threat. You’re simply too small! Additionally, whales don’t see you as food. Even if they did, they don’t have the ability to chew, some don’t have teeth, and most except the sperm whale have tiny throats no bigger than a football. In the case of sperm whales, they are so far below the surface that you will hardly ever encounter one. Unless you’re 3,000 feet (900 meters) deep, you’re unlikely to come across them looking for food. There are also no modern cases on record where this type of whale has actually swallowed a human.  Whales are used to being alone, and it’s rare for them to be aggressive. For the most part, they will ignore humans and go about their whale business. The exceptions to this rule usually happen when whales defend themselves. This could be because a large ship, such as a whaler, or a loud noise spooks it. If it has encountered a whaler before and escaped, it will remember and become defensive.

What about killer whales?

The killer whale or orca is a feared predator in the ocean. It eats a huge amount of fish and even seabirds if it gets the chance. These whales have a sharp set of teeth designed to tear victims apart. While they may be terrifying to fish and other sea mammals, you shouldn’t be afraid of them. However, if you get too close to them or their family they will defend themselves. They have harmed mammals before, especially if they mistake them for food. They will likely grab onto a limb and drag you underwater, but not actually consume a human whole.

Killer whale

Words of warning

Regardless of their general friendliness, you should still be careful with whales. Whenever you’re in the vicinity of a whale, remember to act with caution and respect their space. If you are with a whale watching tour, your guides will let you know how to behave and avoid doing anything to spook these magnificent sea creatures.


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