A video of a whale trapping prey in the Gulf of Thailand is by far the best drone whale video of the year. And maybe of any year.
The whale is open-mouthed – and you will be too once you see this thing.
The video shows the Eden’s whale’s jaws spread wide along the water’s surface. A school of fish apparently swims right into it, not realizing the stakes. When the whale’s had enough, it slowly closes its massive jaws and rolls majestically back into the Gulf.
The drone whale video was taken under the direction of photographer Bertie Gregory. It’s part of the BBC documentary Perfect Planet, narrated by Sir David Attenborough.
Gregory calls this strategy “extraordinary behavior.” The whale isn’t hunting, strictly speaking – rather it’s just treading water. It stretches its massive jaws – Monstro-like – while keeping its head above the surface. Perhaps even more extraordinary than the drone whale video is that this is a fairly recent adaptive behavior. Gregory says it’s due to water pollution resulting in low-oxygen levels.
“Sewage outflows from the land have caused all the oxygen in the water to be used up, except at the surface. This means the whale’s prey can only live in this surface layer,” he says. “By treading water and keeping the corners of their mouth below the surface, a flow is created pulling the fish into the whale’s mouth. In the panic, some of the fish also seem to jump out the water and into the whale’s mouth!”
Best drone whale video
Yup, they’re doing the hunter’s work for it, by jumping right down its throat.
Whales are great subjects for drone videos.
But if you’ve never heard of Eden’s whales, I’ll spare you the trip to Wikipedia. They are a smaller version of Bryde’s whales and typically found off the coast of Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. Still, they’re not particularly small. The adult is normally about 38 feet in length. They’re named for Sir Ashley Eden, the former High Commissioner of Myanmar after one tried to swim up a Burmese creek in the 1870s and stranded itself. North American whale watchers may think they look like humpbacks. They do belong to the same group and have baleen. In fact, humpbacks have been observed feeding in similar ways.
No one will mind if you are seen observing that video again.