Scientific Name: Physeter macrocephalus

Malti: Il-gabdoll

The sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) is one of the easiest whales to identify; it is the largest toothed cetacean, with the males growing up to 18 metres in length, while the females only reach around 12 metres. They have a black to brownish grey colour with white areas around the mouth and often on the belly and can weigh up to 50 tonnes. Sperm whales have a huge head (one-quarter to one-third of the total length), short stubby flippers and very broad triangular flukes which can often be seen being raised high into the air before a long dive. Sperm whales are deep divers, capable of reaching depths of 3,000m and can last at least two hours. Their diet mainly consists of giant squid, squid and octopus.

Sperm whales are often found in bachelor schools (young males) or breeding schools (females with young of both sexes) which are large groups containing up to fifty whales. The older males live in smaller groups of around 6 whales or are even often solitary and join the breeding school during breeding season. Their distribution is worldwide in deep waters both offshore and inshore, but most commonly in continental canyons.