Sperm Whale

Sperm Whale South Africa.

Name : Sperm Whale
Scientific Name : Physeter macrocephalus
Class : Mammalia
Family : Physeteridae
Order : Cetacea (suborder) - Odontoceti
Shape : At a distance, its angled, bushy blow is usually sufficient for its identification. Its huge, square-shaped head contains a huge cavity, called the spermaceti organ, and narrow bottom jaw (measuring a third of the body length) and wrinkly, prune-like skin are unmistakable. 36 - 50 thick, conical teeth grow up to 20 cm long and may weigh over 1 kg. Females have fewer, smaller teeth. Small inconspicuous eyes.
Fins : Small, wide pectoral fins with round tips, big strong flukes. Knuckles between hump and flukes.
Length : Adults measure between 11 - 18 metres (males) and 13 metres (females). Newborns measure between 3.5 - 4.5 metres.
Weight : Adults weigh between 20 and 50 tons. Newborns weigh 1 ton.
Colour : Uniform purplish-brown to dark grey body colour (paler in calves) with grey or off-white underside; area may increase with age.
Diet : Giant squid and fish.
Population : The Sperm Whale was one of the most heavily exploited of all the world's whales, although it is still relatively abundant.
Migration : There is a general movement towards the poles in summer: older males migrate as far as the edges of polar ice, but females and juveniles rarely venture beyond 45 degrees north or 42 degrees south.
Habits : Sometimes found in large groups of about 20 (mostly one bull with his cows). Older males tend to be solitary, or live in small groups of up to 6 animals. Can dive 2 000 metres and stay underwater for over two hours. Easily stranded when in shallower waters. Blow is angled at 45 degrees to the left and forward.
Distribution : Widely distributed in deep waters worldwide, both offshore and inshore.

Whale Watching South Africa : Whale Trail Hermanus, Cape Whale Coast, Garden Route
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