Free enamel pin when you buy any two Atlas Obscura products. Shop now.

Dead Whales Are Bringing Other Species Together

Over the past week, carcasses have inspired several unprecedented animal gatherings.

Whales are incredibly generous animals. In life, they sing, make rainbows, and throw big, smelly parties. In death, they nourish whole underwater ecosystems—and, it turns out, bring other species together in unprecedented numbers.

As ABC Kimberley reports, an “enormous rotting whale carcass” on the sandflats near Western Australia’s Montgomery Reef has attracted over a dozen saltwater crocodiles, which normally keep to themselves.

Jim French, the helicopter pilot that spotted the popular buffet, told the outlet that he and his passengers counted “fourteen crocodiles, including two that came out of the whale’s belly.” “[They] were just in their element,” he added. The fun will likely be over soon, as sharks have been joining the crocs at high tide, and there is less and less whale every minute.

Meanwhile, on Wrangel Island in the Arctic Ocean, 230 polar bears have come from far and wide to eat a dead bowhead whale, the Siberian Times reports.

The bears—who, like many of their kind, are probably hungry from dwindling sea ice—were spotted by tourists on the Akademik Shokalskiy, a Finnish cruise ship. Photos of the island show dozens of fuzzy-looking white dots lumbering down from higher ground to take part in snacktime.

And then there’s the humpback carcass in Australia, which had to be exhumed earlier this week in order to get rid of the dozens of sharks who came calling.

Yet another lesson from whales: if you’re trying to get all your friends to hang out, just drum up an irresistible meal.

Every day, we track down a fleeting wonder—something amazing that’s only happening right now. Have a tip for us? Tell us about it! Send your temporary miracles to cara@atlasobscura.com.