A rare toothed whale came ashore on Hilton Head Island on Burke’s Beach Sunday morning.
According to Hilton Head Shore Beach Services, the visitor was 11-feet-long.
The Island Packet reports the whale was still alive when officials first responded to the scene on the northern part of the island. But shore services said the whale passed and was buried on the beach, as is typical protocol.
The cause of death has yet to be determined, pending necropsy results.
According to the Island Packet, this is the second beached pygmy sperm whale in less than a month.
These whales, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), may be the most common off of the southeastern coasts because that’s where the most strandings have occurred.
The whales can live up to 23 years and typically stay beneath the water’s surface unless conditions are very calm, according to the NOAA.
And due to the limited information about them, they are considered to be rare.
If you come across a stranded animal during your beach trip, officials encourage you to stay keep a distance and find a beach patrol member or contact the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources toll-free number: 1-800-922-5431.