Pygmy Sperm Whale
marine life of Namibia
Introduction: The pygmy sperm whale (Kogia breviceps) is one of three species of toothed whale in the sperm whale family. It is often confused with the dwarf sperm whale as they are both small but powerful creatures and are not much bigger than many dolphins. It has a distinctive short head, 1/6th of the total body length and a small, shark-like mouth with a lower jaw that has long, sharp teeth.
The pygmy sperm whale uses echolocation to detect its prey and they occur in small groups of 6-10 individuals. It has a spermaceti organ in its forehead (hence the name) and a sac in its intestines that contains a dark red fluid that is expelled when it is frightened, a feature that is used to confuse and disorient predators.
Diet: A squid lover, the pygmy sperm whale sometimes preys on fish and crustaceans. It is believed that the pygmy sperm whale uses its eyesight to locate food in the deep as many of the squid it takes are light emitting.
Colouring: Dark bluish to grey back, top of the head and flukes and the outer surface of the flipper. The under-surface is while or pale grey.
Breeding: Females reach sexual maturity at 2.6m in length. Calves are around 1.2m in length when born.
Size: Males grow to 3.4m in length.