The southern bottlenose whale (aka Antarctic bottlenose whale) can be found living throughout various parts of the southern ocean.
The name “bottlenose” comes from the fact that these whales have a short beak that resembles the shape of a bottle.
This whale makes up one of two bottlenose whales; the other is their close relative the northern bottlenose whale.
The southern bottlenose dolphin can reach lengths of up to 25 ft. long when fully matured and can weigh close to 9,000 lbs.
In terms of appearance this whale has a stocky rotund body with small flippers and a small dorsal fin which is located near its lower back.
They also have an enlarged forehead with a short beak.
Their skin tone is a grayish color that is lighter on the whales underbody.
Because these whales belong to the toothed whale suborder it’s quite possible they rely on echolocation to search for food, especially in areas that are devoid of light.
As their name suggest these whales can be found swimming throughout various parts of the southern hemisphere.
These whales are commonly found living in deep waters far from the coastline.
Some of the popular areas they have been spotted in include Brazil, Chile, New England, New South Whales, South Africa, Western Australia and throughout various parts of the Antarctic.
In addition to inhibiting large areas of the southern ocean they are also believed to be migratory animals moving from one location to the next during the summer/winter seasons.
Due to their offshore living habits and small pod sizes research and understanding of their social structure and behavior remain fairly limited.
What is known is that these whales can be found traveling together in pods of up to 25 whales, however in many cases they may form smaller pods containing 5 – 10 whales.
When hunting for food they can make dives of up to 1 hour before resurfacing, although most dives are significantly shorter in duration.
After long diving sessions these whales can be spotted remaining above the surface for 10 minutes or more before taking their next dive.
Very little is known about the breeding habits of these whales, however researchers have made educated guesses from the data they have collected through the whales close relative the northern bottlenose whale.
If the data is correct it suggests that these whales have an average gestation period of around 12 months.
After birth the female whale will nurse her young for 1 year or more by providing her child with milk which the child suckles from her nipple.
These whales are believed to reach sexual maturity between the ages of 7 – 14, at which point they may begin mating and bearing offspring of their own.
Females give birth to a single offspring once every 2 – 3 years and the average lifespan is believed to be between 35 – 40 years.
The southern bottlenose whale has been known to face a couple of threats which include:
- Fishing net hazards – The southern bottlenose whale may accidentally get caught in a fishing net and be unable to resurface for oxygen, which leads to drowning.
- Whaling – Although rare these marine mammals have occasionally been taken during whaling ventures.
- Natural predators – The southern bottlenose whale may face threats from potential predators, however research on this topic is fairly limited.