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Sperm Whale

Sperm Whale (Physeter Macrocephalus)Sperm Whale (Physeter Macrocephalus)Sperm Whale (Physeter Macrocephalus)Sperm Whale (Physeter Macrocephalus)Sperm Whale (Physeter Macrocephalus)Sperm Whale (Physeter Macrocephalus)
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Sperm Whale Facts

Kingdom:
Five groups that classify all living things
Animalia
Phylum:
A group of animals within the animal kingdom
Chordata
Class:
A group of animals within a pylum
Mammalia
Order:
A group of animals within a class
Cetacea
Family:
A group of animals within an order
Physeteridae
Genus:
A group of animals within a family
Physeter
Common Name:
Most widely used name for the species
Sperm Whale
Scientific Name:
Comprised of the genus followed by the species
Physeter Macrocephalus
Origin:
The area where the animal first came from
Worldwide
Diet:
What kind of foods the animal eats
Carnivore
Size (L):
How long (L) or tall (H) the animal is
6m - 20.5m (19.7ft - 67ft)
Water Type:
Either freshwater, brakish or salt
Salt
Optimum pH Level:
The perfect acidity conditions for the animal
6 - 9
Life Span:
How long the animal lives for
50 - 70 years
Conservation Status:
The likelihood of the animal becoming extinct
Vulnerable
Colour:
The colour of the animal's coat or markings
Grey, Blue, Black, White
Skin Type:
The protective layer of the animal
Smooth
Favourite Food:Squid
Habitat:
The specific area where the animal lives
Deep off-shore waters
Average Litter Size:
The average number of babies born at once
1
Main Prey:Squid, Octopus, Rays
Predators:
Other animals that hunt and eat the animal
Sharks, Humans, Killer Whales
Distinctive Features:
Characteristics unique to the animal
Cone-shaped teeth and enormous body size

Sperm Whale Location

Map of Sperm Whale Locations

Sperm Whale

The sperm whale is one of the world's water giants and is found in ocean waters worldwide. Although historically known as the common cachalot, the sperm whale gets it's name from the waxy-liquid substance found in it's head, that is used in candles, soap and cosmetics by humans.

The sperm whale was once found in large groups, known as pods, around the world but extensive whaling of the sperm whale has led to it being classified as a vulnerable species today. The sperm whale is most commonly found in the deep ocean, where there is an abundance of food and along continental shelves.

An adult sperm whale can grow to nearly 70ft long, making the sperm whale the largest toothed animal on the planet (although about a third of the length of the sperm whale is made up of it's head alone). Sperm whales have around 50 large teeth in total, which are cone-shaped and weigh about 1kg each.

Sperm whales are not only one of the world's biggest animals but are also one of the deepest diving animals in the ocean (along with elephant seals and bottlenose dolphins), and commonly dive to depths of nearly 500 metres for up to half an hour at a time. It is believed however, that sperm whales are able to dive much deeper reaching depths of around 3 km for periods of 90 minutes or more.

The sperm whale is one of the ocean's largest and most dominant predators, feeding primarily on medium sized squid. The sperm whale is also known to hunt larger squid species including the colossal and giant squids, and also octopus and large fish.

The sheer size of the adult sperm whale means that it has no real natural predators in the ocean, besides being over-hunted by humans. The smaller sperm whale calves however have been known to be taken by killer whales and occasionally large sharks.

After a gestation period that lasts anywhere from a year to a year and a half, the female sperm whale gives birth to a single sperm whale calf into the surrounding water. Calves are thought to suckle (feed on their mother's milk) for up a few years before they begin hunting for themselves. Female sperm whales are able to breed when they are around 10 years old and can live to be beyond the age of 70.

Today, due to centuries of hunting, the sperm whale population is thought to be under threat in the wild. Although the sperm whale population is said to be stronger than that of other whale species, sperm whales are also now under threat from other factors including noise and chemical pollution in the water.

Sperm Whale Comments

anonymous
"Love SPERM WHALES."
Anonymous
"I love sperm whales"
Platymama
"I love them"
Kierra
"What amazing animals!"
Art Master
"LOVED IT!"
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First Published: 12th July 2010, Last Updated: 9th January 2017 [View Sources]

Sources:
1. David Burnie, Dorling Kindersley (2008) Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 12 Jul 2010]
2. David Burnie, Kingfisher (2011) The Kingfisher Animal Encyclopedia [Accessed at: 01 Jan 2011]
3. David W. Macdonald, Oxford University Press (2010) The Encyclopedia Of Mammals [Accessed at: 12 Jul 2010]
4. Dorling Kindersley (2006) Dorling Kindersley Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 12 Jul 2010]
5. Richard Mackay, University of California Press (2009) The Atlas Of Endangered Species [Accessed at: 12 Jul 2010]
6. Tom Jackson, Lorenz Books (2007) The World Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 12 Jul 2010]

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