Watch A ‘Moby-Dick’ Sperm Whale Battle And Devour A Giant Squid

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Written by Colby Maxwell

Updated: November 9, 2023

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Sperm Whale
© Animalgraphy/Shutterstock.com

Key Points:

  • The sperm whale has teeth and is the largest predator in the world.
  • Sperm whales love to eat giant squid and will dive thousands of feet to the ocean floor to find them.
  • For the first time ever, a video of a sperm whale hunting a giant squid has been officially documented and can be seen here!

Although most don’t know it, the sperm whale is generally considered to be the largest predator in the entire world. These toothed whales don’t simply filter water and eat small crustaceans but actively hunt in the deepest depths, searching for their favorite prey. This behavior is rarely seen, although scientists are hoping to learn more. As one video shows, the battles that take place thousands of feet down in the oceanic depths are epic in proportion. Let’s watch a real-life sperm whale battle a giant squid in the deep!

In a short documentary, we get to witness scientists and researchers doing something incredible: attaching a camera to a sperm whale before they go down to hunt. If you know anything about Moby-Dick, you know that catching a sperm whale is a lot easier said than done!

The crew first starts with a quick overview of what they are going to be doing. The mission: attach a video camera to a sperm whale so they can study how it hunts when it dives to the bottom of the ocean. As cool as the mission is, they first need to find a whale, then they need to attach a camera to it.

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Using sonar, the team ends up tracking a pod of whales, hoping to see one breach. When a whale breaches, it comes out of the water, giving the researchers a chance to attach their cameras. In a place as big as the Caribbean Sea, however, it is going to take a while!

Seeking Sperm Whales

After spotting pilot whales, dolphins, and a plethora of other sea creatures, they finally have their sighting. Although it isn’t a great white whale, it IS a sperm whale, the thing they are after. With a heading, the team sets out in their little boat.

Using math and a lot of technology, they finally predict when the whales are going to reach the surface. Once the whales breach, the team acts fast. Using a specially designed suction cup, the researchers try and attach a deep-sea camera to the outside of the whales. Although a suction cup is much harder to attach than something that penetrates the skin, the team knew they didn’t want to harm the animals.

Sperm Whale

Sperm whales are the world’s largest predators.

©Animalgraphy/Shutterstock.com

Finally, they had a hit. Placing the suction-cupped camera on the top of the whale, they determinedly tagged their target (even if their boat took a little damage in the process)! Once the camera was finally attached, the team was able to watch and listen in on the life of these sperm whales. Truthfully, it’s one of the most astounding things ever to be recorded.

Eventually, we get to see what we all want: a hunt. Sperm whales love to eat giant squid and will dive thousands of feet to the pitch-black ocean floor to find them. In the clip, we see the whale diving further and further until it’s silent. Finally, we see it. A sudden rush of movement, and everything goes silent as a tentacle drifts into the camera’s view. For the first time ever, a video of a sperm whale hunting a giant squid has been officially documented!

Is it Normal for Sperm Whales to Eat Giant Squid?

Sperm whale underwater swimming towards you

Sperm whales are the only known regular predator of giant squids.

©Thierry Eidenweil/Shutterstock.com

Sperm whales are the only known regular predators of giant squids, and they are excellent at finding them, diving to depths of 1.4 miles to locate them.  Squids are the favorite food of sperm whales, and female sperm whales can eat anywhere between 700-800 squids in a day, while males can put away 300-400 squids in a day. By examining the stomach contents of sperm whales, it is evidenced that they ingest these deep sea creatures because the indigestible beaks and other body parts of giant squids have been found there.

In fact, sperm whales are one of the few animals that can hunt and eat the giant squid, and it is believed that this whale is the only animal capable of taking down a giant squid. The whales quite frequently carry scars that match the suckers on a giant squid’s tentacles. Therefore, yes, it is normal for sperm whales to eat giant squid.

How Giant is a Giant Squid?

Giant Humboldt Squid on a fishing boat.

The largest squid in the world had a mantle of 7.4 feet.

©mikeledray/Shutterstock.com

Giant squid are some of the largest creatures in the ocean. They grow up to an incredible 40 feet long, and their tentacles can reach lengths of up to 15 feet! With their large size and long tentacles, they can weigh up to about 1,000 pounds. A giant squid’s mantle (the body portion that contains the organs) is between 5-7 feet long! The longest squid mantle on record so far is 7.4 feet long.

Giant squid are carnivores and feed on a variety of marine life, including fish, crustaceans, and other squid. They use their long tentacles to grab prey and then use their sharp beak to tear it into smaller pieces before they swallow it.

Giant squid has a few natural predators, including sperm whales, pilot whales, and sharks. These predators are often able to overpower them due to their size. Giant squid also face danger from commercial fishing, as they can get caught in the nets and lines used by fishermen.


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About the Author

Colby is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering outdoors, unique animal stories, and science news. Colby has been writing about science news and animals for five years and holds a bachelor's degree from SEU. A resident of NYC, you can find him camping, exploring, and telling everyone about what birds he saw at his local birdfeeder.

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