CBS Philly reported Tuesday that the stranded adult Pygmy sperm whale was found washed up at the mouth of the Great Egg River, between Ocean City and Longport early Monday morning.
Marine Mammal Stranding Center Founding Director Bob Schoelkopf said the 12 feet long sperm whale was gravely ill and had to be euthanized.
Schoelkopf said these type of whales are not normally sighted at sea but they are known to feed on squid in the deep ocean waters this time of year.
He suspects the whale had heart problems that caused it to be lethargic and float to shore.
“When they do come ashore, it’s almost always with a heart problem, even an enlarged valve, or bleeding around the heart, this type of thing, and no one really knows why that species is like that and what causes it,” Schoelkopf said.
The pygmy sperm whale is one of three species of toothed whale in the sperm whale family. What is known about them comes from the examination of stranded specimens.
The stranding center’s staff are scheduled to perform an necropsy on the mammal to determine the exact cause of its ill health.