Amazing facts about a sperm whale

Picture of a sperm whale.

Sperm whale

The sperm whale shares his manner of birth with only two other mammals in the world, the sea cow and the hippopotamus, in that he is born under water.

He backs into the world, being born tail first.

At birth he is about fourteen feet long and weighs a ton!

Do not be deceived into thinking that the baby is smiling when he opens his pink toothless mouth.

Being unable to wrinkle up his forehead as humans do, his face stays firm and expressionless but for the rolling of eyes and the clapping of the jaws.

Even if the calf could smile, he would not, as the water is cold.

He has lain sixteen months in a warm chamber inside his mother at 96°F., and so gasps for air as his mother nudges him to the surface with her broad face.

You see, the baby does not instinctively know how to swim.

Mamma must teach him.

But because he is fat, he floats nicely.

The greatest advantage of being large at birth is in keeping warm.

The greater the body volume, the slower the heat loss to the chilly sea.

For the next two years he will suckle his mother’s breast (two nipples hidden in a deep slit, one on each side of the belly) on a diet of thick milk, over 33 percent pure fat.

Regular dairy milk contains only 4 percent fat.

The baby sperm whale’s one-inch-thick coat of blubber will grow over the years till it will be a great firm blanket more than a foot thick.

He will average a gain of seven pounds a day while following Mom like a shadow.

Later, because of the reserve fat of his body, he will be able to go for weeks without food.

When he graduates to his favorite solid diet of squid, however, he is going to have some digestive problems.

It is said that squid are responsible for the formation of intestinal obstructions, which become large and combine with bile secretions and other organic compounds found in the lower gut to form the prized ambergris.

One of the unusual things about whales is their great care for one another.

When a whale is in distress, it sends out a wild call and its companions move in.

They will put their shoulder under a wounded or ailing companion and help him to the surface.

Commercial whalers have exploited this loving characteristic for profit.

They would cruelly wound a whale calf, knowing that the mother would come to its rescue, and then both mother and calf would be killed.

By the time the sperm whale has finished its early training, it is an expert diver.

One sperm whale dove 3,240 feet, where it got tangled in a submarine cable, and drowned!

Scientists marvel at how this mammal can dive to such depths quickly and surface exactly on time to get its necessary breath without getting the bends, as humans would.

By the time the sperm whale is nine years old, it is sexually mature.

Its full body size of forty-five to sixty feet will be reached at age thirty to forty-five, and extreme old age will be at seventy-five years.