CHRISTIAN DARKIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CHRISTIAN DARKIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Sperm whale family. Computer artwork of a sperm whale (Physeter catodon, or macrocephalus) mother and calf. The gestation period exceeds 12 months, and the calf is nursed for 2-3 years after birth. Females rarely exceed 12 metres in length, but the males can be as much as 18 metres long and over 50 tonnes in weight. Sperm whales are toothed whales (teeth seen in lower jaw), though the teeth are thought to be used in aggression between males, rather than eating. Sperm whales dive deep (over 1000 metres) to hunt their main prey, giant squid. The sperm whale is found throughout the world's oceans, living in groups (or pods) of one or two males and several females and young.
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