Sperm Whales

Sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus), made famous by the book Moby Dick, are incredible animals in many ways. Most startling is that these whales, which have evolved from land mammals, can dive and feed as deep as 3,000 metres. The fact that they can 'see' in complete darkness, pinpoint their prey, hold breath for as long as an hour and aren't crushed by pressure 300 times what we experience above water, is a miracle of evolution. 

Snorkel with a Sperm Whale in Sri Lanka - underwater photography by Ralph Pannell Aqua-Firma

Unlike the great baleen whales where the females are slightly larger than males; male sperm whales are substantially larger than females reaching 19m and 50 tonnes as compared to about 12m and 25 tonnes. The males can also dive much deeper, with a mere 1,000m being enough for a female.

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Sri Lanka


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