Sperm Whale Facts
Five groups that classify all living things
A group of animals within the animal kingdom
A group of animals within a pylum
A group of animals within a class
A group of animals within an order
A group of animals within a family
Most widely used name for this species
The name of the animal in science
The area where the animal first came from
What kind of foods the animal eats
How long (L) or tall (H) the animal is
|6m - 20.5m (19.7ft - 67ft)|
Either freshwater, brakish or salt
|Optimum pH Level:|
The perfect acidity conditions for the animal
|6 - 9|
How long the animal lives for
|50 - 70 years|
The likelihood of the animal becoming extinct
The colour of the animal's coat or markings
|Grey, Blue, Black, White|
The protective layer of the animal
The preferred food of this animal
The specific area where the animal lives
|Deep off-shore waters|
|Average Litter Size:|
The average number of babies born at once
The food that the animal gains energy from
|Squid, Octopus, Rays|
Other animals that hunt and eat the animal
|Sharks, Humans, Killer Whales|
Characteristics unique to this animal
|Cone-shaped teeth and enormous body size|
Sperm Whale Location
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 its name from the waxy-liquid substance found in its 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 its 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.
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First Published: 12th July 2010, Last Updated: 8th November 2019
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