A 38-foot humpback whale that washed ashore on Falcon Cove Beach on Saturday, Sept. 17 – has washed back out to sea, according to reports.
Seaside Aquarium’s Tiffany Boothe was scheduled to perform a necropsy on the beached mammal Monday, but when she arrived the whale was gone. She said only the whale’s kidney was left behind on the sand.
Officials said the whale had been deceased for awhile before washing in. The cause of death was not obvious at the time.
Reports state that the whale, which had been decomposing before it hit shore, was bloated and filled with gas. The gas forced the whale’s stomach and kidney through its mouth and onto the beach before it washed back out to sea.
In conjunction with the Marine Mammal Stranding Network, the aquarium conducts necropsies on marine mammals that wash up on land. The team looks for ocean changes or signs of animals are getting tangled in nets or struck by watercraft, according to reports.
Experts said while dead sea lions are seals are common, deceased whales turn up on the Oregon coast much less frequently – about once or twice annually.
Boothe added whale necropsies are time consuming because of the heavy flesh and blubber. A full-grown humpback can weigh up to 40 tons.