What Do Sperm Whales Eat
Sperm Whales are definitely one of the largest creatures on the planet, and you don't need to be a rocket scientist to know that. But if you're wondering how they became so huge, then you are not alone.
Like most people, they, too, are wondering what sperm whales eat and why they get extremely big. It must be their food, right?! You guessed that right. Today, we will dive deeper into what are the preferred choices of these gentle giants when it's time for lunch, dinner, and breakfast. So, if you're curious about what do sperm whales eat, read further down below!
What Are Sperm Whales?
Before we dive down deeper into what do sperm whales eat, it is important first to get to know more about these giants. Sperm whales are the largest species of the toothed whales family, along with the dwarf sperm whale and the pygmy sperm whale.
They are known as pelagic creatures or species mainly found in the water columns of an ocean. If you're wondering whether they are named after the 'sperm,' you are partly wrong. They are named after a sticky substance found on their head named spermaceti.
It is a whale sac commonly found on top of their head that mainly helps sperm whales focus on sound. In addition, these waxy substances are also used for different products, such as candles, lubricants, and lamps.
During the 17th to 18th centuries, sperm whales were abundant, and their population is estimated to be over 200,000! However, their population was rapidly declining due to whale fishing in the early portion of the 18th to 19th centuries. It soon halted as various organizations and countries took a stand against these giants.
While whale fishing is no longer a threat to their population, sperm whale numbers are still recovering but have shown glimpses that everything is on the horizon for these creatures.
Where Do Sperm Whales Live?
Of all toothed whale species, Sperm Whales are the most widely distributed whale specie on the planet. However, where they live depends on their food source and living conditions that are far more favorable.
However, sperm whale migrations aren't as studied as baleen whales as they are quite diverse, and it would be difficult to pinpoint their actual location. In addition, some sperm whales have varying migration patterns depending on their age.
Older sperm whales have relatively longer migrations than younger sperm whales. In contrast, young and female sperm whales love temperate conditions more commonly found in sub-tropical to tropical waters.
What Do Sperm Whales Eat?
Sperm whales hunt for food towards the water's depths, reaching up to two thousand feet looking for food. In addition, they can reach depths of up to ten thousand feet in search of food.
If they are unfortunate during their initial dive, they come to the surface and breathe and recover before diving in again. Because they mostly spend their lives in deep waters, their common diet consists of sharks, octopuses, squids, skates, cuttlefish, cephalopods, crabs, lobsters, and different types of species.
They can consume up to 3.5% of their body weight daily. Imagine how many kilos of fish they eat just to maintain their body weight. Depending on their weight, it would require hundreds or even thousands of fish to meet their daily needs.
How Much Do Sperm Whales Eat in a Day?
As we've mentioned, they might need large portions of fish just to maintain their body weight. Of all the food they love to eat, squid is by far their favorite because of its abundance in different regions.
In addition, squids have become a staple of their diet, and researchers believe that they eat around 110 to 330 million tons of squid a year. That's crazy! Poor squid. However, if not for squid, they wouldn't be these humongous creatures that are majestically traversing through Earth's water every single day.
Do Sperm Whales Have Natural Predators?
Just because they are one of the biggest sea creatures on the planet means they don't have any natural predators. In fact, they only have one natural predator, and it's their distant cousins, the killer whales.
Killer whales also compete with their primary food source and would often be seen scrambling in areas rich in the food source. Orcas are also known to attack female sperm whales and their calves.
Aside from orcas, they are also attacked by other whales, such as false killer whales, pilot whales, and other aquatic predators. Humans have also been known to attack sperm whales and harvest their spermaceti oil for different productions.
Are Sperm Whales Dangerous To Humans?
Despite their intimidating stature, sperm whales aren't known to be more dangerous to humans than killer whales and great whites. They have been recorded as gentle to humans and would often avoid them if need be.
While there have been attacks on humans, it usually happens because humans provoke these creatures or happen to be swimming along with their calf. In addition, they rarely eat other sea mammals and would often mistake them for some food.
Sperm whales are also known to avoid ships if there are nearby. But on rare occasions, they are witnessed driving themselves towards these large ships. Most of them are antagonistic towards these ships because of their prior experiences, but for most people, these are only coincidental and not done purposely.
Wrapping Things Up
Sperm whales are definitely one of the largest creatures in the ocean. Despite their huge size, they aren't exempted from various factors that affect their population. From human intervention, oil spills, whaling, and many more. Still, these species are known to keep the balance of the ecosystem.
Now that you know what do sperm whales eat, fortunately, we are leaning towards the right path as different governing bodies, organizations, and countries are making a concerted effort to preserve not only their kind but with everyone as well. So, let's hope that all the efforts wouldn't be wasted and continue moving forward to help stabilize all sea animals' popularity for years to come.
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