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Other Whales | Sperm Whales

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Very little has been written about the sperm whales of Newfoundland and Labrador but they are frequently seen offshore and in Trinity and Placentia Bays.

This social whale boasts the largest brain on the planet and is famous for its deep dives and mysterious eating habits. The small lower jaw with its ~60 teeth appear awkwardly placed in the middle of a massive body. Somehow this uncomfortable looking set-up allows the sperm whale to dive thousands of feet (easily over 1,000 meters) underwater in search of active prey that can include the giant squid… the world's most massive and mysterious invertebrate.

Look for wrinkled black (or very dark grey) skin, a single S-shaped blowhole or nostril located on the left side of the animal's box-like head, and an angled spout that resembles a low humpback blow from a distance.

Like humpbacks, a sperm whale will often show its tail prior to a deep dive but the world's largest toothed whale is usually less curious than humpbacks. The tails are less distinctive than a humpback tail and it is challenging to identify individuals although the leaders and guests of Wildland Tours have found that the same (apparent) individuals remain in the same areas of certain deep water bays for months at a time; and occasionally overwinter close to the coast in a deep bay.

A female sperm whale reaches maturity at 9-10 years while males take 18-20 years to mature. On average, a female will give birth to about 7-10 calves in her life as she lives to be 70 years old or more. Males tend to have shorter, more violent lives and juvenile males will occasionally be found dead along the coast, victims of attacks by larger harem masters. The sperm whales we see along the coast appear to be young males.

We are still looking for Newfoundland and Labrador individuals boasting markings that will allow us to track them over time; but the following individuals were photographed on Wildland Tours' Whale Study Weeks and Newfoundland Adventures.

We appreciate receiving reports and photos of sperm whales from around eastern North America.

 
 

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