| Last updated
A giant of the deep ocean has washed up on a beach in west Ireland.
The 40ft corpse of a sperm whale was found at Mace Head, Moyrus in Connemara, County Galway on Sunday.
It is believed to have died prior to beaching, as fishermen spotted a floating sperm whale off the coast last week.
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) said this is the third time a sperm whale had beached in the country this year, adding that it was 'a little unusual but nothing sinister'.
A spokesman said: "Another sperm whale was washed up yesterday, this time at Mace Head, Moyrus, near Carna in Connemara. It's most likely the same whale reported floating by commercial fishermen fishing out of Ballyconnelly.
"The stranding at Mace Head was reported to the IWDG by Seamus MacDonnacha of Cill Chiaráin, and Rónán Ó Conghaile, this 40ft whale is in great condition and well worth taking a trip out to Mace Head to see.
"Three sperm whales washed up this year is a little unusual but nothing sinister, please report any strandings to see if this is the start of something more worrying."
The corpse offers an insight into the sheer scale of one of the ocean's largest creatures. Sperm whales ordinarily live in pods in the deep ocean and are the second deepest diving mammal, reaching depths of 2,250 metres. They also have the largest brain of any animal and can live for more than 60 years.
While the washed up whale in Connemara is undoubtedly massive, it's actually not that big for a mature whale, with males averaging 52ft in length and - in extreme cases - reaching up to 67ft in length.
Yesterday, in Sardinia, a pregnant sperm whale washed ashore having swallowed 22kg of plastic waste. According to reports, she had ingested such a large quantity of plastic she was unable to digest actual food.
Speaking to Sky News, Luca Bittau, a spokesperson for non-profit organisation SEAME Sardinia, said: "Plastic in the oceans is a huge problem, we can remove the plastic in the surface but we can't do anything about the plastic at the bottom of the oceans.
"All the plastic is there and it will be there for ever. We have to reduce the use of plastic in our daily life, especially the single-use plastic. We have to change our habits and use other materials like wood."
Chosen for YouChosen for You
Most Read StoriesMost Read