Sperm Whale Gathering

Sperm Whale Gathering

Sperm whales meet up, happy for the company after the males have been wandering on their own. Tthey begin to size each other up to check on the competition for mating but remain friendly.


6 - 12+


Biology, Ecology

Great Migrations

Male sperm whales are the largest toothed predator alive. These marine mammals can grow to be 15 to 18 meters (49 to 59 feet) long, which is larger than a full size school bus. A sperm whale's head takes up between 25 and 35 percent of their total body.

Moving around the ocean at speeds up to 37 kilometers per hour (23 miles per hour), sperm whales can dive as deep as 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) and can hold their breath for up to 90 minutes.

Female sperm whales travel with their young in pods, usually in warmer, tropical or subtropical, waters. Mature male sperm whales travel alone in cooler water, near the poles. Some sperm whales live to be 70 years old, and might have traveled nearly 60 times the circumference of the Earth in their lifetime.

Most sperm whales migrate towards the equator to breed. They navigate and communicate by using the sun, currents and sonar. Many meet in the Azores, a series of nine volcanic islands in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean.

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National Geographic Society
Page Producer
Makayla Trotter
Nina Page, National Geographic Society
Last Updated

September 27, 2022

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