Sperm Whale

Sperm Whale

Scientific Name -Physeter macrocephalus

Classification – Cetaceans

Gender Names – Male – bull; Female – cow;  baby – calf

Collective Noun – Pod

Average Length – Male – 16 m (52 ft) Female – 11 m (36 ft) Newborn – 4 m (13 ft)

Average Weight – Male – 41,000kg (45 tons) Female – 14,000kg (15 tons)

Speed – up to 44km/h (27mph)

Life Expectancy – 70 years or more

Mating Season – throughout the year

Pregnancy – 16 months


Special Features – Sperm whales produce a dark waxy substance called ambergris. They can dive to a depth of 1000 ft and hold their breath for around 90 minutes.

Distribution of sperm whalesFamily Unit – The bonds between the members of sperm whale pods are strong and long-lasting. They protect the young, the sick and the injured by placing them in the centre of the pod. They generally travel in pods of 15 – 20 and groups of females with their young are common.

Geographical Distribution – All oceans of the World

World Population – 200,000

Conservation Status – Vulnerable

Natural Habitat – Sperm whales are found in many open oceans, both in tropical and cool waters. Sperm whales live at the surface of the ocean but dive very deeply to catch giant squid

Diet – Giant squid, fish, octopus and skate

Predators – Humans, killer whales


Harvard Reference for this page:

Heather Y Wheeler. (2015). Sperm Whale. Available: https://www.naturalhistoryonthenet.com/Mammals/sperm_whale.htm. Last accessed Monday, July 18, 2016

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