The strap-toothed whale (aka the long-toothed whale) is a large beaked whale that can be found traveling in the colder regions of the southern ocean.
These marine mammals earned their name due to the two large teeth located on the lower jaw.
Their distinctive features such as their large body, black coloring and large teeth make them easier to distinguish from other beaked whales in the ocean.
In order to develop a more comprehensive understanding of these whales some of the information that has been gathered about this species comes from observations of beached or stranded whales.
Physical Characteristics and Appearance
The strap-toothed whale is a marine mammal and belongs to the cetacean family, which is composed of all species of whale, dolphin and porpoise.
Because these whales are marine mammals they are warm-blooded, give birth, produce milk and breathe air.
As the name implies the strap/long-toothed whale is largely known for its two long teeth that erupt from the lower jaw.
These teeth can grow to nearly 1 ft. in length and extend well beyond the top beak.
These whales are also known to reach lengths of up to 20 ft. when fully matured and can weigh up to 3,000 lbs, making them one of the larger species of beaked whale.
Female whales tend to grow about 1 ft. longer than their male counterparts.
When fully grown adult whales appear to be mostly black in color, however there are a few areas of the body that are white such as the jaw, throat, chest and genital areas.
Children on the other hand tend to be a dark gray – black coloring with a lighter colored under-body.
As with other beaked whales the strap-toothed whale has a stocky body with a dorsal fin that is located about 2/3 down its back.
Diet and Hunting Methods
When diving for food they have been known to dive for up to 15 minutes before resurfacing.
As part of the toothed whale family these whales may also use echolocation to search for food and navigate the ocean.
Habitat and Migration
These whales have been observed living south of the equator throughout various parts of the southern ocean in cold climate areas.
Spottings and beachings of the strap-toothed whale have occurred in places such as Argentina, Australia, New South Wales and New Zealand among other places in the south.
Social structure and Reproduction
Individuals who have seen these whales state that they appear to be shy and tend to keep a low profile as they dive below the water and rise to the surface by moving slowly and barely disturbing the water as they move.
Limited information about their lifespan suggests that these whales may live between 25 – 50 years.
Nothing is known about their breeding habits.
These whales are not known to face any substantial threats, however as stated earlier occasional strandings are known to occur.
The cause of these strandings remain unknown.