Species: Physeter macrocephalus
9 to 20 m (the male being bigger than the female), weighing 10 to 57 tons.
Up to 70 years
Listen to Sperm Whales, very social animals that use their echolocation clicks to communicate but also to hunt and find their way.
The distribution of Sperm Whales is worldwide. They live particularly at great depths. Females and young remain in warm waters while adult males live in cold waters. Adult males return to warm waters to breed between January and May.
Sperm Whale males reach sexual maturity at around 20 years, while for females it is around 7 years. Gestation lasts about 15 months, and the female gives birth to a single calf every 3 to 6 years.
It feeds on cephalopods: octopus and squid, hunted at great depths (between 500 and 2000m).
Morphological characteristics for identification at sea
- Head: square
- Fins: no dorsal fin but a series of humps down to the tail
- Spout: skewed to the left
- Swim sequence: characteristic “driftwood-like” surface behaviour
- Colouring: dark grey to black coat, "wrinkled" skin
Click on the link to see the Sperm Whale in 3D:
Did you know?
The Sperm Whale sleeps vertically below the surface of the water with its head facing the sky.
Banner photo credit: Franck Mazéas