One morning last June while diving for lobsters off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Michael Packard says that he was slurped up by a humpback whale! The animal likely sucked the diver into its mouth by accident.
Humpback whales can’t digest food the size of a human, says Daniel Palacios, a marine biologist at Oregon State University. Normally, these marine mammals dine on small fish and tiny crustaceans like krill. A humpback whale hunts by opening its massive mouth and lunging forward to scoop up seawater and prey. The whale then pushes the water out through the comb-like baleen plates hanging from its upper jaws, so only its food remains.