Can whales get rabies?
March 22, 2008 2:17 AM   Subscribe

Can whales get rabies? Are there any documented cases of whales catching rabies? This seems like a good premise for a bad horror movie.
posted by respond to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Seems to be a popular question. Putting "whales rabies" into google had the very question in the first few results.

Can whales get rabies?

There has never been a case of rabies reported in a whale. This doesn’t mean that they are not susceptible to catching it. In fact, all mammals are susceptible to rabies. However, it is very unlikely that a whale could naturally get rabies. It would have to be bitten by a bat, a skunk, a fox, a dog or a human (!) carrier. One case of rabies has already been documented in a ringed seal from the Arctic (Svalbard, Norway). The disease was likely transmitted to the seal by the bite of a rabid arctic fox or a domestic dog. This is a very rare occurrence.

From the link (might not be obvious how to find the question in the list, since it's using some really really annoying frameset)
posted by chrisbucks at 2:31 AM on March 22, 2008

Rabies also makes animals hydrophobic, so it would probably mean a quick end to the whale before it could cause much damage.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 7:49 AM on March 22, 2008

Sounds like hydrophobia is a great element of respond's premise, if the whales are working their way into/onto boats to get out of the water
posted by iknowizbirfmark at 8:06 AM on March 22, 2008

My sister suggested a similar premise for a horror movie:
What if a zombie bit a whale?
posted by nprigoda at 11:49 AM on March 22, 2008

On the great premise for a movie tact: FOAMY THE RABID DOLPHIN was the fake horror movie Bobcat Goldthwait's character is working on in the John Cusack/Demi Moore vehicle, ONE CRAZY SUMMER. It's the second funniest joke in the film (beyond "dog from mars!").
posted by Gucky at 6:44 PM on March 22, 2008

Gucky, you beat me to Foamy the Rabid Dolphin reference.
I think the funniest joke in ONE CRAZY SUMMER was the elaborate setup for the Godzilla attack.
posted by jrishel at 7:05 PM on March 22, 2008

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