In a rare photograph, a humpback whale is seen capturing a sea lion within its mouth. np

This sea lion found itself in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Chase Dekker has been photographing wildlife for nearly a decade but has never captured a shot like this. He was on a routine whale-watching boat trip last week in Monterey Bay, California, when he noticed a sea lion stuck on the nose of humpback whale.

He immediately started photographing.

Sea lion's wild ride on humpback whale captured in photos

“I didn’t even look at my camera,” Dekker said. “I just leaped up and was screaming to everyone aboard.”

The results were incredible, as Dekker was able to capture the moment when the sea lion fell into the whale’s mouth.

Don’t worry, that sea lion managed to escape to open waters, though it was probably a little shaken up.


Humpback whales are filter-feeding animals who have no interest in consuming sea lions. In fact, that whale’s esophagus is only about the size of a grapefruit or small melon, making it impossible to swallow such a creature.


Rare photo captures humpback whale with sea lion in its mouth - The  Washington Post

To feed, these humpback whales open their mouths wide and take in large amounts of water. They filter out tiny ocean creatures such as plankton and krill, pushing the water back out. A humpback whale can hold up to 5,000 gallons of water in its mouth, according to the Maui Ocean Center.

Because the two animals are often feeding together, it makes sense that a whale accidentally catches a sea lion now and then, but up to this point, no one is known to have captured the moment.

The feeding congregation Dekker came across in this photo was made up of only three whales and maybe 200 sea lions. This was a relatively small one, according to the photographer, who has seen groups as large as 100 whales and 3,000 sea lions.

He is a native of Monterey Bay and works often as a marine biologist and photographer on Sanctuary Cruises. He is now heading to Tonga to photograph more humpback whales – but he doesn’t expect to see a sight quite like this one ever again.


Feeding Frenzy Fills Monterey Bay With Humpback Whales | WIRED

In recent years, photographs of wildlife encounters have become increasingly popular, offering a glimpse into the natural world and its many wonders. However, some of these photographs are more extraordinary than others, and one such photo has captured the attention of the world.

The photograph in question shows a sea lion trapped in the mouth of a humpback whale. The image was taken off the coast of California by photographer Chase Dekker, who was leading a whale-watching tour at the time. The photo quickly went viral, with many people expressing shock and amazement at the rare and unusual sight.

While the photo is certainly striking, the incident it captures is not unheard of. Humpback whales are known to feed on small fish and krill, using a technique known as “bubble-net feeding” to trap their prey. This involves the whales swimming in circles while blowing bubbles, creating a “net” of bubbles that forces the fish to the surface where they can be easily caught. In this case, it appears that the sea lion may have been caught up in the bubble net, leading to its brief entrapment in the whale’s mouth.

While the sea lion was lucky to escape relatively unharmed, the incident serves as a reminder of the often-unpredictable nature of the natural world. Despite our best efforts to understand and document it, there is still so much we have yet to learn about the creatures that share our planet.

The photograph has also sparked a wider conversation about the impact of human activity on marine life. Humpback whales were once hunted to near extinction, but thanks to conservation efforts, their populations have started to recover. However, they still face a range of threats, including entanglement in fishing gear and collisions with boats. By highlighting the beauty and fragility of these creatures, the photograph has inspired many to take action to protect them and their habitats.

In conclusion, the photograph of the sea lion trapped in the mouth of a humpback whale has captivated the world and sparked important conversations about wildlife conservation. While the incident captured in the photo may be rare, it serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of understanding and protecting the natural world around us.


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