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Beaked Whales: Ziphiidae

Beaked Whales And People

Three species of beaked whale were hunted mainly from the 1880s to the 1920s for their oil and spermaceti: the northern bottlenosed whale, Cuvier's whale, and Baird's whale. Otherwise beaked whales have few interactions with humans because they live so far off shore.


Scientists cannot explain why whales strand themselves on shore. Individual whales that strand are usually old or sick. However, sometimes whole pods, meaning dozens of animals, will strand at once. Usually these are deep-water toothed whales. Some scientists believe that their echolocation system does not function well when they accidentally stray into shallow water. Others think the whales are escaping a predator or are frightened by human-made underwater noises. Another theory is that disease or pollution makes them disoriented. Whatever the reason, people have recorded strandings for hundreds of years all over the world. Stranded animals that cannot be re-floated often die because they are so heavy out of water they cannot expand their lungs to breathe.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammalsBeaked Whales: Ziphiidae - Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Beaked Whales And People, Northern Bottlenosed Whale (hyperoodon Ampullatus): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, CONSERVATION STATUS