Whale surprises kayakers by lifting their boat out of the water

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Kayaking off the coast of Argentina is a popular pastime for a reason. A quick paddle out from shore often yields glimpses of beautiful right whales and other sea life. In the case of this kayaking couple, they got a closer look than they bargained for when a whale surfaced under their boat.

At first it looks like the whales are coming in for a closer look, but to their surprise it lifts the kayak right out of the water before gently returning the craft to the surface.

While this is a breathtaking video, people are encouraged to stay well clear of whales, despite the temptation to get a closer look. The huge mammals, already hunted close to extinction for their blubber, can become stressed if they are constantly harangued by humans.

The white build-up on the head of the whale is actually concentrations of whale lice or louse, which form a parasitic relationship, growing in folds and crevices in the whale’s skin.

While the parasites do slightly harm the whale by eating small pieces of skin, they are quite prolific amongst the species, and a regular part of right whale life. In fact, identifying the genetic history of the lice allowed researchers to finally prove once and for all that there are actually three distinct species of right whale that are unable to interbreed. These are: the North Atlantic right whale, the North Pacific right whale, and the Southern right whale.