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Sperm Whale (Physeter catodon)

This large whale weighs an average of 40 tonnes, and can reach weights of 50 tonnes. Large males can grow to 20 metres in length, and females only 12 metres. The females weigh on average one third of what the male whale weighs.

They have a large box type head, which makes it easily distinguishable and sets the sperm whale aside from other whales.

These whales can swim to extreme depths, going down as far as 3 kms. Given their size, they feed on very large sea creatures also. Amongst their favourite is the giant squid, which can range over 9 metres from top to tentacles. They also feed on seals, rays and even sharks up to a few metres long. The whales have no limit to how deep they can swim.

These whales can reach speeds of 30 km/h under the water if threatened, but generally attain a 10 km/h speed when moving through waters.

Did you know? The tooth of a sperm whale can grow to 23 cms long and weigh 3 kilograms!

The sperm whale is not as vocal as other whales, however it can still emite a variety of sounds from chirps or squeaks to groans and clicks. When the sperm whale interacts with another whale, they will sound a series of clicks anywhere between a few and fourty. This is known as the whale coda.

In the past sperm whales were hunted aggresively. Sperm whales were also feared by whalers with small-boats, as they had the ability to capsize such boats. In recent times whaler boats became more sophisticated and this was no longer a problem. These great creatures were unfortunately hunted for spermaceti. A substance located in the head of the sperm whale. It was used for a variety of lubricating purposes. It was found in automatic transmission fluid, burning oil for lamps, and other such purposes.

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