The Giant Sperm Whale Part 2
There are some amazing facts about the Sperm Whale that are worth sharing, showing you just how truly amazing these creatures are and in turn how incredibly blessed we are to be able to enter into their natural environment.
What do they eat?
- Sperm whales feed on large pelagic fish such as Hapuka (Groper), Ling, Tuna, Black Shark, King Fish but their preferred diet is squid.
- The Sperm Whale feeds on many different species of squid, including the exclusive Giant Squid.
- Despite frequent attempts by numerous scientists here in Kaikoura, the Giant Squid has only been viewed alive in its natural habitat off the coast of Japan.
- The Giant Squid grows to an average length of 12 metres, but has been known to grow to lengths of over 18 metres.
As sound waves (clicks) pass through the spermaceti oil, the sound is enhanced and amplified. The Sperm Whale is thought to be one of the world’s loudest animal. It has been recorded at 230 decibels. It is thought that the Sperm Whale can use its sonar not only to locate its prey but to stun or kill its prey.
Inside the Sperm Whales head:
- The Sperm Whale has the largest brain of any living animal. Their brain is approximately the size of a basketball, approximately 7 times larger than the human brain.
- Also inside the Sperm Whale’s head is the spermaceti melon, containing around 2.5 tonnes of oil.
- Once thought to the sperm or semen, hence the name: Sperm Whale
- Once highly sought after for production of candles, cosmetics, lubrication of sewing machines and industrial machinery. Famous for use in Rolls Royce engines and gearboxes and early Apollo space missions.
- Possibly used by Sperm Whales to assist in echo location and/or buoyancy.
- The Sperm Whales off our coastline dive for 40-60 minutes to depths of up to 1000+ metres.
- The Sperm Whale is the deepest diving mammal in the world, diving for over 2 hours and over to 3000 metres.
As you can see from the information in this blog and also in Part 1 that the Sperm Whales that we get to see on our tours are truly magnificent creatures!