• 10-foot whale beaches self in Cocoa Beach


    COCOA BEACH, Fla. - A 10-foot-long rare whale was discovered on Cocoa Beach Wednesday morning.

    It's the same type of whale that died on a Volusia County beach in March.

    The pygmy sperm whale is known for staying in the deep sea, so biologists have a theory the whale may have been sick before it ended up on the beach.

    Vacationers walking the beach were among the first to spot whale stuck in the sand.

    "Being a Midwesterner, living on the shores Lake Michigan, I had no idea.  I thought it was a dolphin that had washed up on shore," visitor Susan Serschen said.

    A number of people from the surrounding area rushed over to see if they could help.

    "Somebody told me they thought it was alive, so we came down from over in one of the condos and it's not alive," said Bob Hazard, beach visitor.

    Biologists from Hubbs SeaWorld Research Institute said the pygmy sperm whale is a unique breed.  They can't survive in captivity, and are rarely spotted in the wild. 

    So little is known about them that researchers said they haven't determined if they are threatened or endangered. 

    "They are really difficult to study at sea because they are deep divers and they are solitary. So when you get one on the beach it's a good opportunity to study them," said Teresa Mazza of the Hubbs SeaWorld Research Institute.

    Another pygmy sperm whale died on the beach in Volusia County last month.  Biologists said it's unlikely the two are connected.

    "We don't necessarily see any red flags with this one, but we to come out and do a full work up and see what we can learn," said Mazza.

    Biologists said it was an adult male and may have died from a heart condition, which is one of the most frequent reasons for that type of whale to end up on the beach.

    Biologists took samples from the whale to be sent to a lab to find the cause of death and see if there was anything out of the ordinary.

    They said that the whale was buried on the beach.

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