This is what it’s like to nearly get eaten by a whale

August 2, 2013

In today's Lunch Break, a couple of divers almost get swallowed by a pair of humpback whales:

So what would happen if a humpback whale did try to eat you? According to NOAA, baleen whales have small throats about the size of basketballs. So they certainly couldn't swallow a human. But they do have powerful tongues and the overall experience might not be too pleasant.

Relatedly, here's a long Salon essay from 2012 in which Ben Shattuck tries to find a record of any whale ever swallowing a human. (Sperm whales, with their sharp, 8-inch teeth, seem like one possible candidate.) He comes up empty, but it's an entertaining read all the same.

(Video via Aaron Cohen, and yes, it's about a week old. Apologies for tardiness on this pressing issue.)

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Brad Plumer | August 2, 2013