Sperm Whale Fun Facts

Background Info:

Body Size and Shape (Enchanted Learning 2005)

  • 50-60 feet long
  • Weight: 40-50 tons
  • Brain weighs 20 pounds
    • Largest brain of any animal
  • Heart weighs 277 pounds
  • Blowhole on left side of front of head
  • Head is 1/3 of its body length
  • The worlds largest nose (Cranford 1999)

Photo taken by Leslie Smith off Abaco Island, Bahamas. This whale was just about to fluke to go down for a dive. The picture shows its back arched as it is about to bring its tail out of the water.

 

Diet (Enchanted Learning 2005)

  • Carnivore - mostly giant squid
  • Also eat fish, octopus, and skate
  • An adult can eat a ton of food a day

Range (Enchanted Learning 2005)

  • Tropical and cold open oceans
  • Not found in the polar seas
  • Not normally found near the coast
 

 

Photo taken by Leslie Smith off Abaco Island, Bahamas of a sperm whale logging at the surface.

Diving (Clarke 1978a)

  • Adult Males: dive for 50min; surface for10min
  • Females and calves stay down for shorter periods
  • Can dive deeper than 1000m
  • After diving they typically log on the surface

Social Groups and Reproduction (Enchanted Learning 2005)

  • Live in long lasting pods
  • Pods help protect young
  • Pods commonly have mothers and young
  • 16 month gestation period
  • Litter size: one offspring
  • Born tail first at the surface
  • Newborn is 13 feet long and weighs 1 ton
  • Calves weaned at 2 years old
  • 3-4 year interval between birth

Photo Courtesy of National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration Corps, Scott Hill. These are a pod of sperm whales logging on the surface. Sperm whales travel in pods mainly of females and their young, with males temporarily joining the group for mating purposes.

 

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