Sperm whale

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Sperm whale
Mother and baby sperm whale.jpg
A mother and baby Sperm whale
Sperm whale size.svg
Size comparison against an average human
Scientific classification
Binomial name
Physeter catodon
Linnaeus, 1758

The sperm whale (Physeter catodon) is the largest toothed whale. It has the biggest head of any animal. The head can be about 20 feet (6.1 m) long, and is about one-third of the whale's body. Its lower jaw is small and contains its huge, conical teeth (which fit into sockets in the upper jaw).

Diet[change | change source]

Sperm whales are carnivores (meat-eaters). They mostly hunt medium-sized squid. They also eat many kinds of fish such as skate. Sometimes they hunt giant squid that live on the ocean bottom at great depths. They can dive up to 2250 m and stay underwater for 1 hour. The largest bulls (males) will sometimes even eat colossal squid.

Size[change | change source]

Sperm whales can reach up to 20.7m long, and weigh up to 80,000kg.[1][2]

Echolocation[change | change source]

Like other toothed whales, the sperm whale uses echolocation, a way of sensing in which they emit high-pitched clicks and sense them as they bounce back off objects (like prey). This is crucial in hunting in the dark ocean depths.

References[change | change source]

  1. Wood, Gerald (1983). The Guinness Book of Animal Facts and Feats. ISBN 978-0-85112-235-9.
  2. Carwardine, Mark (2008). Animal Records. New York: Sterling. ISBN 9781402756238.