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Sperm whale spotted in shallow waters off Treasure Island

4:35 PM, Dec 31, 2007   |    comments
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PALMETTO, Fla. (AP) — Authorities are keeping a close eye on a 25- to 30-foot sperm whale that's swimming in shallow waters off Treasure Island.

Sperm whales are the most common type of large whales found in the Gulf of Mexico, but they tend to stay farther out to sea. This whale has been spotted since Sunday in the waters off Pinellas County and near the mouth of Terra Ceia Bay.

A spokeswoman with the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota says researchers haven't been able to get close enough to the whale to determine its sex or age.

A sighting this close to Florida's coast is rare. It's usually a sign the animal is in distress.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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