You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Whale floating in Boston Harbor washes up on island

Boat captain Steve Leuchte stood next to a dead finback whale on Rainsford Island on Tuesday.

Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

Boat captain Steve Leuchte stood next to a dead finback whale on Rainsford Island on Tuesday.

The finback whale that has been floating dead in Boston Harbor for several days washed ashore this morning on Rainsford Island, off the coast of Hull.

New England Aquarium veterinarians are en route to examine the animal, according to Tony LaCasse, an aquarium spokesman. They hope to do a necropsy to determine what killed the animal, but Rainsford Island, a small island between Long Island and Peddocks Island, does not have a dock, making logistics difficult when dealing with such a large creature.

Continue reading below

A necropsy requires substantial equipment, and removal involves truckloads filled with blubber. One option is to bury the animal on site.

LaCasse said that because the beach has steep terrain, it might slip back out to sea

Adult finback whales are the second largest animals on the planet, and can grow to 70 feet in length and easily weigh 100,000 pounds, according to LaCasse. The goal of the necropsy is to determine if the animal died of natural causes, or perhaps a boat collision or entanglement in fishing line.

The whale carcass was the first spotted in Boston Harbor in recent memory. Whale sightings in the harbor are rare, usually three or four a year.

Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.