Discover The Largest Sperm Whale Ever

Written by Emilio Brown
Published: January 1, 2022
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Sperm whales are water giants and can be found through the world’s oceans. They live in deep waters and can dive up 6500 to 10,000 feet (2 to 3km) below sea level, searching for prey. Sperm whales are the largest toothed predator and have the largest brain of any mammal. Spermaceti, also called sperm oil, gives this whale its name and is created by the organ in its head.

There are over 90 species of whale in the ocean and the largest is the Antarctic blue whale. Yet, sperm whales are near the top of the list for largest animals to ever live on Earth.

There are three different sperm whale species, each with varying sizes. They are considered endangered and are experiencing population decline. This article will discover some of the largest sperm whales ever to be found and how large they can get. Let’s learn about the size of the sperm whales and the largest ever to exist!

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The Largest Sperm Whale Ever Recorded

Sperm Whale Teeth - Sperm Whale in Ocean

The largest sperm whale ever was nearly 80 feet long!

©bekirevren/Shutterstock.com

The largest sperm whale ever measured 79 feet!

Sperm whales are some of the largest whales in the world. Whalers have reported large specimens of whales that they have managed to come across for decades. One of the most giant sperm whales recorded was measured by the International Whaling Commission in 1933 and is documented to be 79ft long (24 meters). Other large sperm whales have been measured at 59 feet (18 meters) and weighed  53 tons. In Russia, there was also a specimen measured piece by piece and was documented to be 68 feet long (20.7 meters) and weighing  57 tons.

Whales of this size are rare, and humans often do not come across them. It is less likely to come across a sperm whale that is extremely large today because of whalers that hunted for the largest types. The average size of a sperm whale is 52 feet (16 meters) and 45 tons for males. Females average 36 feet (11 meters) and weigh 15 tons. Even newborn sperm whales are giant and one of the largest newborn mammals. They weigh 1 ton and are 13 ft (4 meters) long. Their large size makes sperm whales one the largest toothed predators, and one of the largest whale species. 

Sperm Whales Types

Sperm whales are one of the largest extant animals today, but evidence shows their ancestors have roamed waters for over 25 million years. Today, there are three types of sperm whale species: the pygmy sperm whale, dwarf sperm whale, and sperm whale. 

The dwarf sperm whale and pygmy dwarf are much smaller than the average sperm whale. The pygmy sperm whale grows to 11 feet (3.5m) and weighs about 880lbs (400kg) when fully grown. Pygmy sperm whales and sperm whales belong to different families. The sperm whale is in the Physeteridae family, and the pygmy sperm whale is in the Kogiidae. 

Dwarf sperm whales are the smallest whale and belong to the Kogiidae family. Their size ranges from 6.6 to 8.9 ft (2 to 2.7m), and they will weigh between 300 to 600lbs (136 to 272kg.) One of the main things these species have in common is the organ in their head that makes spermaceti. This substance is used for candles and ointments and is only found in sperm whales. 

How Much Do Sperm Whales Eat

Sperm whales are the largest toothed predator, and they spend their time roaming deep waters looking for food. Being so large, sperm whales need to eat constantly and consume around 3.5 percent of their body weight daily. This means they can eat as much as 2700 lbs (1224.6kg) of daily food. Sperm whales feed on various sea life like squid, fish, octopus, and even sharks.

Are Sperm Whales Dangerous

Interesting animals – sperm whale

Despite their size, sperm whales are gentle creatures that aren’t looking to attack humans

©Martin Prochazkacz/Shutterstock.com

Sperm whales are definitely large enough to be dangerous, but that doesn’t mean they are set out to harm. If you have heard any fisherman’s tales, you might have heard of dangerous sperm whales attacking. 

Sperm whales are friendly creatures and are not set out to harm humans. They will usually never attack humans and only go after their prey. We are actually more dangerous to sperm whales, which is why they have been declining in population. Sperm whales may become violent when hunted and attacked by whalers. When respected and not harassed, sperm whales and humans can coexist peacefully.

Why Sperm Whales Populations Are Declining

Commercial whaling has been around since the 1800s and is one of the reasons sperm whale populations have declined over the last few decades. Today we are trying to preserve and fix the damage caused in the past to this species. Sperm whales are considered endangered and are also being affected by the oceans changing habitat. Climate change and pollution are ways their homes have been changed which negatively affects them.  

Sperm whales also have a long gestation period of 14 to 16 months. This extended period is higher than most animals, and one of the reasons populations have been slow to recover. 

Sperm whales are giants, and whale watching is one of the best ways to see their size. You can see how large and beautiful these animals are when up close. Even though they spend most of their time in the water, they are mammals like humans. Preservation of sperm whales is essential in keeping this species from going extinct. Humans are the reason for their population loss but can also be the reason for their rebound. 

The photo featured at the top of this post is © wildestanimal/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Spiders, snakes, and lizards are my favorite types of animals, and I enjoy keeping some species as pets. I love learning about the various wonders nature has to offer and have been a writer for 5 years. In my spare time, you can find me getting out into nature.

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