Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sperm Whale Facts

1)The Sperm whale is the biggest predator in the world.

2)The brain of the sperm whale is the biggest on earth, and perhaps the biggest brain of any animal that has ever lived.

Image: petroleumhistory.org
3)The Sperm whale makes the loudest sound made by any living creature - over 230 decibels.

4)Up to 1/3 of their body is taken up by their head - which is filled with a strange and complicated echolocating system that the whales use to see in the dark and communicate with each other.

5)The Sperm whale hunts a great variety of animals including Giant Squid and Colossal Squid. No-one has ever seen a sperm whale hunt a giant squid. Because the whales spend so much time in the extreme deep we know very little about them, so the chance to explore inside them is a rare opportunity to figure out how they live by looking at their incredible adaptations.
Image: amnh.org
6)The Sperm whale can dive into the deep for over an hour at a time to hunt their prey. Sperm whales have to breathe air, but their prey lives deep in the ocean, perhaps as far as 3km beneath the surface. The conditions are so extreme - cold, dark and the pressure is enormous - here that humans would be killed if we dived this deep. But the whales have evolved incredible adaptations - bendy ribs, strange blood vessels and muscles that can load up with oxygen which allow them to dive into the deep for over an hour at a time to hunt their prey.

7)Sperm whales are born after about 15 months in the womb.

8)Females tend to stay with their mother and her social group, and will spend their whole lives with them, which could be over a century. Males leave the group and eventually live alone, travelling far away to polar regions and growing their enormous noses hunting in these richer waters.

9)Males are much bigger than the females - they can grow over 20m long and weigh over 60 tons.

10)Sperm whales are extremely social. They will co-operate to raise each-other's young and will protect each-other, even risking their own lives to fight off attacks on other sperm whales by their main enemy, the killer whales.
Image: seaworld.org
11)When they are young they learn to make clicking noises to communicate with one another. It's thought that each social group of whales has its own patterns of clicks, and that maybe individual whales have their own click patterns. Some researchers believe that different groups of whales live in the same place but don't interact with each-other - like different tribes they have their own customs and unique behaviours, such as what food they choose to hunt and how deep they dive. This is called 'whale culture'.

12)Whales are mammals - they once walked around on land and at some point moved back into the sea.

13)Like us they have lungs, warm blood and breasts which they use to feed their babies milk. You can still find the whiskers of their deer-like ancestors poking out of their noses and inside their flippers are the bones of enormous mammal hands.
Image: whalesongs.org
14)There are two kinds of whales - the baleen whales and the toothed whales. The baleen whales (like the blue whale and the humpback) take big gulps of water and filter out tiny animals like krill. The toothed whales (dolphins, killer whales, sperm whales) are hunters - they take larger prey.

info: http://www.channel4.com/info/press/news/inside-nature-s-giants-explores-worlds-biggest-and-loudest-predator

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing and providing your insights on the sperm whale. Also really liked the pictures.

    Whales are a fascinating species and a lot of fun to learn about.



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