WATCH: Humpback whale spotted in North Myrtle Beach slapping tail against water

Published: Dec. 29, 2021 at 1:30 PM EST
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NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) – One woman had a unique sighting in North Myrtle Beach on Christmas Eve, and no it wasn’t Santa’s sleigh.

Out in the waters, she saw a whale slapping its tail against the water. Sissy England captured the whale on video and sent it to WMBF News. She said the whale was doing the movement for about 5 to 7 minutes.

We reached out to Dr. Robert Young who is professor of Marine Science at Coastal Carolina University.

He confirmed that it’s a humpback whale that was spotted in the North Myrtle Beach waters.

Young said while the purpose of the repeated tail slaps, known as lobtailing, is not entirely clear, it could serve two purposes.

“[I]t is usually thought to be associated either with communication with other whales, as the sound travels some distance underwater, or with foraging, potentially startling fish and causing them to contract and tighten up their schools,” Young said.

He added that there are a few humpback sightings along the Grand Strand every year.

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