Stejneger’s Beaked Whale

Stejneger’s beaked whale (aka the saber-toothed whale) is a mid-sized beaked whale that can be found traveling in the North Pacific Ocean.

These whales belong to the toothed whale suborder and are known and identified by their saber-tooth like teeth that erupt from the bottom jaw.

They are also known for having excessive scaring due to consistent fights with one another.

This article provides basic information about Strejneger’s beaked whale, which is one of over 15 known species of beaked whale recorded so far.

Physical Characteristics

When fully matured Stejneger’s beaked whale generally measures in at around 16 – 19 ft. long with females growing slightly larger than their male counterparts.

These whales have large overall shaped bodies and the skull tapers down towards the forehead and beak.

The upper body is a dark gray to black color which darkens with age, and their underbody and lower beak are a pale color.

As male whales grow into adults they have two teeth that protrude from the lower jaw, which remain hidden in females and young whales.

The teeth are often noted as appearing similar in shape to those of a saber-toothed tiger.

Diet

A standard diet for these whales typically includes various fish, squid and other cephalopods.

When searching for food these whales have been observed diving to depths of nearly 5,000 ft. and some whales have been noted to hold their breath for 15 minutes or more.

Habitat

These whales tend to prefer living in the North Pacific Ocean in and around cold waters that are at least 2,500 ft. deep.

Some of the most common places where these whales have been spotted include the coast of Japan, the Bearing Sea and Okhotsk Sea among several other locations.

Social Structure

Stejneger’s beaked whale has been reported to typically be found traveling in small groups of 3 – 4 whales, however at times they may be found congregating into larger groups of up to 15.

Whales in a particular pod have been observed swimming very close to one another and may be segregated based on sex and age.

Scaring on adult males suggests that male whales are generally aggressive towards one another, possibly during mating periods.

Intense fighting may cause extensive scaring and/or fractured jaws.

Breeding

The length of pregnancy for these whales is unknown, however like other whale species females give birth to a single offspring (twins amongst the whale species is extremely rare).

The age at which these whales become mature is also unknown, although it is estimated that sexual maturity is reached when young whales grow somewhere between 13 – 15 ft. long.

These whales are believed to have an average lifespan of at least 35 years.

Threats

These marine mammals have been known to face threats from accidental catches in fishing nets and other fishing gear.

They have also been found to have their meat sold to meat markets, however it is believed that this was the result of whales caught in fishing nets rather than being hunted.

In extremely rare cases Stejneger’s beaked whale may be struck by a boat or aquatic vehicle which can cause severe injuries or even death.