As one brazen swimmer recently learned, sperm whales can get a bit testy.
A Norwegian teen who went swimming with a sperm whale was in for quite a shock when he neared the marine mammal off the coast of Norway. Video of the teen's close encounter with the whale was obtained by Aftonbladet TV.
Norway's Verdens Gang newspaper identified the audacious teen as 15-year-old Jan Arthur Harkestad Jensen. According to Norway's The Local, the teen told the daily newspaper that he felt the urge to jump in and went down to the water to undress. At that point, he thought it prudent to ask a whale expert standing nearby if his plan was dangerous but ignored the man's warning to stay out of the water.
The sperm whale seen in the video -- estimated to measure nearly 50 feet -- had apparently become isolated in a bay near Øygarden, a chain of islands on the western coast of Norway, last week. On Tuesday, the local fire department sought to help lead the stranded whale back to open waters.
In the past, swimmers have come under criticism for getting too close to sperm whales and other marine mammals. A Florida teen sparked outrage in June after his friends filmed him riding a whale shark for several seconds.
While the sperm whales are not known to prey on humans, swimming alongside them can be dangerous based on our size alone. The sperm whale is currently classified as a vulnerable species on the IUCN's Red List of Threatened Species.
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