Blue whales are immensely big animals, the biggest to ever roam the earth in fact. It would be easy to assume that they could swallow a human whole if they wanted to.
In this post, we’re going to answer do blue whales eat humans?
Luckily, blue whales do not eat humans. There are several factors that stop them from eating us and keep the ocean from being a much scarier place.
Let’s get into it…
Could A Blue Whale Eat A Human?
Blue whales are filter feeders that feed almost exclusively on krill. In feeding season, they eat around 40 million krill every single day.
Krill are incredibly small crustaceans that are found in all of the world’s oceans and are the blue whale’s favorite meal.
But even if a blue whale wanted to, it still could not eat a human.
Here are a few reasons why:
Blue Whales Are Baleen Whales
Blue whales are baleen whales, which means they are born with baleen plates instead of teeth. The baleen has thin bristles attached to them, sort of like the teeth found on a comb.
This stops krill and other small fish that the whale might scoop up from escaping their mouth, making it perfect for their diet.
However, baleen wouldn’t be effective if the whale tried to consume a human, as the whale wouldn’t be able to tear apart prey, like say an Orca can.
Throat Is Too Small
The next reason blue whales are unable to eat humans is that their throat is simply too small.
A blue whale’s throat is less than 1ft wide, meaning even if they wanted to try to swallow a human it would be impossible and they wouldn’t be able to.
Given that blue whales feed on small krill, trying to digest a large, boney human that has not been torn into chunks would cause havoc for the whale’s digestion.
Even if the whale could get a human down its throat, it would like to end up being vomited back up as the whale wouldn’t be able to digest it.
Blue whales won’t even attempt to eat small mammals, let alone a human. There have also never been any recorded cases of blue whales eating, even partially a human, so no need to worry.
What About The Blue Whales Mouth?
There is no disputing that the blue whale has a gigantic mouth, large enough to allow them to scoop up the eye-watering amount of krill they need to feed on.
Whilst the throat of a blue whale is far too small for a human to be swallowed, it would be possible for a person to get caught up in their mouth.
There have been a few instances where large whales have breached near the surface and almost caught innocent swimmers in their mouths.
So what would happen if you ended up in a blue whale’s mouth?
We don’t really know, as it never happened before. However, the chances are that you may end up being crushed or seriously injured from the pressure within their mouths.
You may end up suffocating or drowning as the whale dives down into the depths, but most likely the whale would try to push you out of its mouth as soon as it realized you were in there.
Although there are lots of reports of people nearly “being swallowed” by large whales, thankfully nobody has ever been stuck in a blue whale’s mouth.
Can Any Whale Species Eat Humans?
There are some whale species that could make quick work of a human if they wanted to, such as killer whales (although technically dolphins).
These are the apex predators of the ocean which work in pods to hunt, but they also have large teeth in order to rip apart their prey.
Sperm whales are also known to hunt sometimes 40ft long squid, and even megamouth sharks occasionally.
This species of whale is the only whale that is thought to be able to consume a human.
That said, sperm whales are not dangerous to humans. They dive to the depths of the ocean to hunt for squid and other prey, so are unlikely to encounter humans at the surface or mistakenly swallow us.
What Would Happen If You Could Be Swallowed?
Theoretically, if you were swallowed by a whale, you wouldn’t survive for longer than a few minutes as you would drown.
The pressure from being inside a whale, as well as the inability to breathe, would mean you would be mincemeat incredibly fast.
Our bodies are not designed to be in salt water for long periods, and we certainly can’t ingest it.
The absence of food, clean drinking water, and oxygen would mean we wouldn’t last very long if we were to be accidentally swallowed by a whale.
Are Blue Whales Friendly Toward Humans?
Besides, blue whales are friendly towards humans, and certainly don’t have any intention of harming or eating people.
These magnificent whales are intelligent enough to know that we are not on their menu.
Blue whales are also incredibly rare to witness in person, so the chances of you being so close to one that it could accidentally catch you in its mouth are slim to none.
We are too small for them to see us as a threat, so oftentimes will completely ignore divers and allow them to have some mind-blowing experiences with them.
Sadly, whales are still on the endangered species list, and there are thought to be no more than 27,000 blue whales roaming the oceans today.
Even witnessing a blue whale is a spectacular event, which I hope you have the pleasure of having one day.
So, do blue whales eat humans? Nope, absolutely not.
These gigantic whales much prefer a mouth full of small, tasty krill than to attempt to gobble up a full-grown human.
Even if they wanted to, a blue whale is incapable of being able to eat a human, as they don’t have teeth and their throats are just too small.
Besides, blue whales are generally friendly towards humans and show very little interest in us when encountered in the wild.
Thanks for taking the time to read this post and I hope it’s cleared up your concerns about ever being eaten by a blue whale.
No need to panic, these whales are gentle giants and not out to harm humans.
Hi, I’m George – the founder of MarinePatch. I created this blog as marine wildlife has been my passion for many years. I’ve spent over a decade in the marine wildlife industry and spent years out in the field conducting research. In today’s modern world, an online blog is the best place for me to share my findings and reach as many people as possible to help educate and inspire others. Enjoy your time here and you’re welcome back anytime!