When people think of whales, they often think of killer whales (technically dolphins), blue whales, or humpback whales. Let’s face it – all whales are amazing, but in my opinion, sperm whales are some of the most unique and majestic mammals to roam our ocean.
You sleep vertically
First, they sleep by standing together in their pods near the surface of the water. While we find sleeping vertically to be uncomfortable and most likely wouldn’t sleep as deeply, it takes a lot to wake a sleeping sperm whale. It is reported that a boat in Chile accidentally drifted into a pod of napping sperm whales, which only woke up from their sleep when the boat accidentally nudged one of them.
You have the biggest brain in the animal kingdom!
Probably the most distinctive feature of a sperm whale would be its large body – most notably its humorous head. As the largest toothed predator on earth, sperm whales can grow up to 19 m tall, with their head making up a third of their body length. It is therefore not surprising that they have the largest brains in the animal kingdom. A larger brain often means that a species has a more complex social structure, and sperm whales are no exception and are considered to be one of the most intelligent creatures to roam the ocean.
They dive deep inside to feed on giant squid
Why are sperm whales called sperm whales? Well, they are named for the waxy liquid substance in their heads known as Spermaceti that helps them control their buoyancy while diving. Sperm whales are also known as catchalots. I wish I could tell you it’s because they catch a lot of food, but catchalot is indeed the archaic French term for “big teeth”. Their conical teeth are indeed large, reaching up to 20 cm in length and weighing up to a kilogram.
But what creatures like to snack on sperm whales with their big teeth? It is a known fact that sperm whales are fantastic divers and often reach a depth of 2000m. One of her favorite prey that roams the deep is the giant squid, which can reach a length of 12m! There have even been reports of sperm whales emerging from the suckers of giant squid tentacles with large scars on their bodies. Pretty cool stuff!
You might think sperm whales must be wild creatures and dangerous to humans, right? Not correct! Sperm whales are docile creatures and there has never been a report of a sperm whale eating a human. Like all creatures that roam our ocean, they play an important role on our planet and should be protected rather than feared.
And there you have it! Just a few of the many reasons why sperm whales are some of the craziest, strangest, and most wonderful mammals around.
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This blog was written by Marina, our resident mermaid. Experience them live every Friday at 1:30 p.m. on our YouTube channel for Mermaid Tales sessions.