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Rare whale washes up at San Onofre State Beach with bullet hole in it

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Posted at 9:06 AM, May 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-18 12:06:11-04

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A pygmy sperm whale was found washed up at San Onofre State Beach in San Diego County with what appeared to be a bullet hole in it, it was reported Monday.

The discovery of the nearly nine-foot whale happened on Friday when a lifeguard spotted the creature lying on the rocks, the Orange County Register reported.

The lifeguard, Todd Shanklin, sent photos to Jim Serpa, a former Doheny State Beach supervisor, to help identify the species of whale, the newspaper reported.

"Todd said he looked at the head, and it kind of reminded him of a sperm whale, only different," Serpa told the OC Register. "But when I saw the big bulbous head, the tiny dorsal fin way back on its back and the dagger teeth, I knew exactly what it was. It also had an odd blowhole that's farther up than any other whale and slightly off-center."

When Serpa inspected the whale further he noticed what appeared to be a bullet hole in its back, according to the newspaper.

"I don't know if it was pre- or post-mortem," he told the newspaper.

Shanklin notified officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and took samples from it.

Officials from the federal agency plan to examine the carcass this week, according to the newspaper.

Pygmy sperm whales are typically found in temperate and tropical seas worldwide. They usually eat squid and use their long, pointy teeth to keep them captured.