FACT CHECK: A whale releases 40 gallons of sperm during mating and contributes to saltiness of ocean water? Here’s the facts…

Animals Environment Misleading

Oceans are filled with a wide variety of creatures ranging from tiny micro-organisms to enormous species. These marine animals have a lot of different life styles and behaviors and their reproduction systems also vary. Here is our investigation into a bizarre claim which said that a whale would release as much as 40 gallons of sperm during mating and that contributes to the saltiness of ocean water. 

Social Media Notes

A Facebook user added a photo of whale’s penis with the following caption  

The blue whale ejaculates 40 gallons of sperm when mating. Only 10% enters the female. And you guys ask why the sea tastes salty?

Facebook | Archived

Same type of posts being shared among many Facebook users in a satirical manner as well.

Fact Check

We searched about the reproduction of whales and were able to verify that the image which was being shared was actually an image of a penis of a whale. Here is an image in Alamy photos of a whale penis, which is said to be generally 8-10 feet long.

Then, we checked about the salinity of ocean water. According to the National Ocean Service of the United States, there are several factors which significantly contribute to the salty nature of the ocean water. One factor is the runoffs from the land, which are mineral ions which are carried away to streams and rivers and eventually end up in the sea. Another reason is the hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor; and the eruption of underwater volcanoes.

Web| Archived

So, it`s clear that whale sperm/fluid does not have a significant impact on the saltiness of ocean water.

We also looked into the blue whales’ reproduction system and whether they are releasing 40 gallons of sperm at the mating time as claimed.

A Blue whales’ testicles include around 7 gallons of sperm and it releases 4-5 gallons at the sexual intercourse.Many data about blue whales can be found from here.Archived. We contacted a marine biologist from Blue Resources Trust, Sri Lanka, a local marine conservation and research organization and he confirmed the same.

This claim had surfaced earlier also and here is a fact check by AFP which also clarifies why it’s difficult to collect samples from blue whales, however as large mammals they have sizable potential for sperm production. 

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According to our investigation, it’s clear that while runoffs from the land, hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor and the eruption of underwater volcanoes have a significant impact on saltiness of sea water, sperm of blue whales have nothing to do about that. Also, according to experts, a blue whale releases only around 4-5 gallons during sexual intercourse.


Title:A whale releases 40 gallons of sperm during mating and contributes to saltiness of ocean water?

Fact Check By: Kalana Krishantha 

Result: Misleading

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