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Despite the spectacular image, neither animal was damaged after the unexpected encounter, says the author of the snapshot.
An American wildlife photographer, Chase Dekker, has captured the shocking moment when a humpback whale came to the sea surface and enveloped a sea lion with its huge mouth.
According to National Geographic, Dekker’s group was on an expedition to watch whales last week in Monterrey Bay, on the coast of California (USA). Dekker, who works as a naturalist for Sanctuary Cruises, saw one of the three whales in the area open his mouth to eat fish and accidentally “raised the male sea lion as if nothing.”
The naturalist managed to photograph the peculiar moment and then uploaded the image on his Instagram account. “As soon as I saw this picture, I knew it could be one of the rarest photos I’ve taken, ” says Dekker. “It’s not the most beautiful, it’s not the most artistic, but it’s probably something I never see again,” he adds.
Humpback whales feed by filtering small oceanic creatures such as plankton and krill from the water through flexible comb-shaped structures in their mouths. Later they expel the water outwards. The esophagus of this animal is barely the size of a small melon, so it has no interest in consuming sea lions . It simply could not swallow such a large creature .
As the experts explain, the two animals often feed together, so it is possible that a whale accidentally catches a sea lion from time to time, but these cases are very rare .
“Apparently [the sea lion] didn’t get out of the way fast enough and got caught inside the whale’s mouth!” Dekker explains in a comment for publication. “At some point, the sea lion escaped and the whale also seemed fine while continuing to feed, but it must have been a strange experience for both parties!”, The naturalist and photographer abounds to his followers.