What Do Sperm Whales Eat?

The Sperm whale is known as the deepest diving marine mammal in the world.

When hunting for food this marine mammal can dive to depths in excess of 6 ,000 ft. underwater, however most of the time their dives are usually no more than 2, 600 ft.

While some information has been uncovered regarding the diets of these amazing hunters their hunting methods have not been well researched due to the deep dives these whales make when hunting for food.

Because of their ability to travel so far underwater it has been difficult to study or record their behaviors, however stomach content and rare observations have given us some idea of what the sperm whales typical diet looks like.

Sperm whales are known to eat giant and colossal squid, octopus, cephalopods, cuddle fish and a variety of other fish.

Their primary diet however consists mainly of squid and since they eat food that lives in fairly deep water they do not have to worry about their food being captured by fishermen or other marine mammals.

In addition to having prey that lives well beyond the threats of humans and other marine mammals large squid rarely have any predators in the deep waters that they live in, which allows the sperm whale to maintain an abundant food source without interruption from other animals, even those that live in deep waters.

Sperm Whale Eating Squid DrawingAs stated earlier most of what is known about the sperm whales squid diet has been studied from the contents found inside the sperm whales stomach.

While researchers haven’t really been able to witness any battles between a sperm whale and colossal squid (which can measure in at over 45 ft and weigh more than 1, 000 pounds) the markings found on the sperm whales head indicate struggles they’ve had while trying to consume this species of squid.

In these situations it appears that the giant squid latches onto the sperm whales head with its tentacles in an attempt to avoid being eaten.

When the sperm whale rises to the surface markings can often be found on and around the sperm whales head which appear to be caused from battles with the giant squid they are trying to consume.

In comparison to the colossal squid these marine mammals eat adult sperm whales can grow to lengths in excess of 50 ft. long and weight more than 45 tons with the large sperm whales growing to lengths of up to 67 ft. long.

In terms of their habitat sperm whales can be found swimming throughout all of the worlds major oceans and are the largest marine mammals within the toothed whale suborder.

Unfortunately due to excessive whaling efforts it is estimated that whalers killed as many as 1,000,000 sperm whales over the last few centuries which is now causing an imbalance in the oceans ecosystem and affecting our ozone layer.

Rough estimates suggest that there are now anywhere between 200,000 – 1, 500, 000 sperm whales left in the words ocean, which may seem like a lot but its much less than before the whaling industry began.

Studies have shown that the nutrients in sperm whale poop helps stimulate the growth of phytoplankton which pulls carbon from the air providing a cleaner and healthier breathing environment for all animals.

It is estimated that as much as 400,000 tonnes of carbon are extracted from the air due to these whales each year!

If all of these estimates are accurate than the additional carbon that could have been extracted from the air by the sperm whales that were killed would have amounted to a lot more clean air and a much more balanced and healthy oceanic and land based ecosystem.