Sperm whale with beer box in its mouth photographed off the Azores

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The plastic box was eventually collected by a whale watching company when the animal moved away at a “safe and regulatory distance”.

Itsounds likealie, but (unfortunately) it’s not. A sperm whale was photographed with a case of beer in its mouth, off the island of São Miguel, in the Azores.

The image was shared on the Facebook page of the Whale Watching Futurismo company and immediately commented on by Internet users.

Contacted by Notícias ao Minuto, Futurismo revealed that the moment happened during a cetacean sighting trip, on the south coast of the island, in the early afternoon of July 21.

“The area of the animal was indicated by the watchman on duty who directed the boats to the place. When approaching, we noticed a less ‘normal’ behavior on the part of the animal that aroused our attention; the sperm whale rolled over, showed its head, tail and pectoral fins. Then we realized that the sperm whale was ‘playing’ with a box of beer by putting it in its mouth”, began by telling the company’s communications manager, Carlos Picanço.


When the animal moved away from the box and placed itself at a “safe and regulatory distance”, the skippers collected it. Inside, they found three pig fish. The sperm whale could have been trying to eat the fish and not ‘playing’ as initially thought. But there is another hypothesis.

“Looking in detail at the photos of the mouth, we could see that the animal might have a disease that affects the teeth (gums). The teeth grow but do not break through the gums and this could cause pain to the animal. Thus, it could be ‘scratching’ the gums in the box, thus relieving the discomfort”, explained Carlos Picanço to Notícias ao Minuto.

In addition to seeing several cetaceans, the tourists who participated in this “memorable” trip witnessed a moment of marine protection, a message that Futurismo always likes to pass on during the experiences they offer to their customers.

Sperm whale with beer box in its mouth photographed off the Azores

“Our trips have a tourist purpose, but not dissociated from the cultural, educational and scientific component. We employ, throughout the year, at least 12 marine biologists so that the scientific creation and enhancement of the tourist experience is enhanced in the best way, reverting this action also in educational programs in schools and in the creation of scientific data, of which we have a repertoire of more than 15 years “, clarified Carlos Picanço, adding that it is very frequent to find garbage in the sea of the Azores.

“Garbage in the Azorean sea is frequent. Unfortunately, too frequent. Futurismo collects marine litter whenever possible (practically on every trip). The garbage is diverse and of various origins. From household waste (garbage bags), plastics of all species and sizes, fishing gear (fish boxes, lines, boat cables, buoys, etc.). We found that there is garbage coming from the United States and Canada, brought by the Gulf Stream (easily identifiable by the tags and marks they bring) but the garbage thrown overboard on the island is the most frequent “, also emphasized the responsible.

Futurismo Azores Adventures has an active coastal cleaning program throughout the year, cleaning at least once a month, in addition to collaborating with other entities in preserving the oceans.

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