Southern California

Shark Sinks Teeth Into Dead Whale Towed Away From Southern California Coast

The whale, known as Scarlet, had been spotted up and down the West Coast

Video shows a shark sinking its teeth into a dead whale that drifted toward a Southern California beach last week before it was towed out to sea. 

Shark tagger Keith Poe captured the rare video Saturday about 15 miles off Dana Point. The shark, possibly 18 feet long, appeared to be pregnant, Poe told the OC Register.

Warning: Some may find this Facebook video disturbing

"She looked like she was here to give birth. She was very large in her girth," Poe told the Register. "As she was eating the whale, it was ridiculous how big she got. She was swimming upside-down, just swimming around like she was very happy and satisfied."

The deceased 55-foot whale was first spotted by whale watching boats off Newport Beach pier around 3 p.m. Thursday. Using a rescue boat and rope, lifeguards towed it about five miles out to sea to prevent it from attracting other fish.

The carcass also produces an unpleasant odor and is difficult to dispose of once it reaches shore. It was not immediately clear when the whale died, but it appears to have been decomposing for several weeks, according to lifeguards. 

Photographer Mark Girardeau said the whale is known as Scarlet, the same whale seen inside LA Harbor about a week earlier. Scarlet also has been spotted in the Santa Barbara Channel and as far north as Oregon, according to Happy Whale, a marine research group that tracks whales.

In August 2016, she was entangled in rope, but did not appear to be entangled during a sighting last fall off Newport Beach. Girardeau also captured drone video of the whale in December off the Southern California coast.

"You can see the whale from the beach, it's huge," Girardeau told the Orange County Register. "It's just really sad to see a dead whale. I just hope it's from natural causes. I just hope this doesn't happen more and this isn't something we'll be seeing more of."

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