sperm whale Sperm whales (Scientific name: Physeter catodon) are the largest toothed whales. They have one of the widest global distributions of any marine mammal species. They are found in all deep oceans, from the equator to the edge of the pack ice in the Arctic and Antarctic. They spend more time in warm waters than baleen whales because they feed mainly on squid which are widely distributed around the globe. [Source: National Geographic, December 1984; National Geographic, November 1995]
Sperm whales get their name from the waxy, milky, white oil that comes from the whale’s head that reminded whalers of, yes, sperm. This substance,, spermaceti, was used in oil lamps, lubricants, and candles. Whaling greatly reduced the sperm whale population. Whaling is no longer a major threat and its population is still recovering. The sperm whale is listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act and depleted under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. [Source: NOAA]
Estimates of the number of sperm whales varies greatly. According to one estimate around 600,000 sperm whales remain today, about two thirds of their former numbers. According to another estimate there are as many as 2 million of them. There are dwarf sperm whales.
Sperm whales can reach a length of 18 meters and weigh 70 tons. They have a large head that occupies nearly a third of the whale’s length and vestigial hind limb passed down to them by their terrestrial ancestors. Sperm whales can reach speed of 32 kilometers per hour (20 miles per hour) and dive to depths 2,000 meters 6,500 feet) in search of prey. They often stay submerged for more than an hour. Their lifespan is thought to be around 60 years. The maximum known life span is 77 years.
Websites and Resources: Animal Diversity Web (ADW) animaldiversity.org; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) noaa.gov; Fishbase fishbase.se; Encyclopedia of Life eol.org; Smithsonian Oceans Portal ocean.si.edu/ocean-life-ecosystems ; Monterey Bay Aquarium montereybayaquarium.org ; MarineBio marinebio.org/oceans/creatures
Physeters — Sperm Whale Species
young sperm whale The family Physeteridae is made of three species in two genera: 1) Physeter, the giant sperm whale; and 2) Kogia, containing two species, the pygmy sperm whales and dwarf sperm whales. Sperm whales include the very large giant sperm whale, which reaches lengths of over 18 meters (60 feet) and weights in excess of 53 tonnes, (60 US tons, 53,000 kilograms), and the much smaller pygmy sperm whale, which attains a mere 4 meters (13 feet) in length and 320 kilograms in weight. [Source: Phil Myers, Animal Diversity Web (ADW) /=]
Physeters (members of the Physeteridae family) have enormous heads, equaling 35 percent of their body length, with a greatly-developed facial depression that contains the spermaceti organ. This structure is developed out the melon that other toothed whales have, and like the melon, may serve as a sort of acoustic lens. The mouth of Physeter is considerably undershot but the lower jaw is long. The dorsal fin is low, thick, and rounded, and the flippers are broad and rounded. Physeter also has a dorsal ridge and thick ventral keel on the tail. /=\
Kogia have much smaller heads, but they are still large relative to their body. They also have spermaceti organs, but these are small. The lower jaw is short and the jaw is undershot. The dorsal fin is low and sickle-shaped, and the flippers narrow. The throat region of both species has numerous shallow, irregular grooves. /=\
Physeters dive to amazing depths (over 1000 meters) in pursuit of their primary prey, squid. They also eat sharks, skates, and fish. Dives may last for 80 minutes or more. Females and young males form schools of 20-40 individuals. These are joined by bull males during the breeding season.The habits of Kogia are less well known. They primarily but not exclusively on squid, with one species foraging in deep oceanic waters and the other over the continental shelf. Kogia appear to be solitary or to live in small pods. /=\
Molecular data and a reanalysis of their anatomy has suggested that toothed sperm whales have evolved from baleen whale, which have baleens rather than teeth. Baleen whales in turn derived from terrestrial animals with teeth. The name Physeter is a Greek word meaning "blower" — a reference to the whale's spout. Catodon, the second word in the sperm whale’s scientific name, comes from two Greek words, kata meaning "lower" and odon meaning "tooth." The species epithet thus refers to the long row of teeth in the lower jaw.
Sperm Whale Habitat and Where They Are Found
sperm whale range
Sperm whales inhabit all of the world’s oceans, including the Indian Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean and Southern Cocean. Their distribution is dependent on their food source and suitable conditions for breeding, and varies with the sex and age composition of the group. [Source: NOAA]
Sperm whale migrations are not as predictable or well understood as migrations of most baleen whales. In some mid-latitudes, sperm whales seem to generally migrate north and south depending on the seasons, moving toward the poles in the summer. However, in tropical and temperate areas, there appears to be no obvious seasonal migration.
Sperm whales roam the deep waters. They seldom approach polar ice fields and are most common in temperate and tropical latitudes. They are seen occasionally near coastlines in the Gulf of Mexico, where they were once quite common.
Sperm whales are apparently limited in depth only by the time it takes to swim down and back to the surface. They are most likely to be found in waters inhabited by squid — at least 1,000 meters deep — and with cold-water upswellings. Because they are so well-adapted for deep water swimming, they are in real danger of stranding when they move inshore. [Source: Liz Ballenger, Animal Diversity Web (ADW)]
Sperm Whale Size and Males and Females
Sperm whales range in weight from 35 to 50 tonnes (38 to 60 US tons, 35000 to 50000 kilograms). Males are much larger than females — as much as two thirds larger. The average weight of females is around 13.6 tonnes (15 US tons); for males it is around 41 tonnes (45 US ton). The average length of females is around 12.2 meters (40 feet). The average length for males is around 15.8 meters (52 feet). [Source: Liz Ballenger, Animal Diversity Web (ADW)]
Males may reach 19 meters (62 feet) — longer than a semi-truck,. The largest giant sperm whales ever was measured by the International Whaling Commission in 1933. It was 24 meters (79 feet) long. Other large sperm whales have been measured at 18 meters (59 feet) and weighed 53 tons. In Russia, there was also a specimen measured piece by piece and was documented to be 20.7 meters (68 feet) long and weighing 57 tons. Newborn calves measure about 4 meters and are about 1/25 the weight of females.
Females are physically mature around 30 years and 35 feet long, at which time they stop growing. For about the first 10 years of life, males are only slightly larger than females, but males continue to exhibit substantial growth until they are well into their 30s. Males reach physical maturity around 50 years and when they are 52 feet long. Unlike females, puberty in males is prolonged, and may last between ages 10 to 20 years old. Even though males are sexually mature at this time, they often do not actively participate in breeding until their late twenties. [Source: NOAA]
Sperm Whale Physical Characteristics
Sperm whales are mostly dark grey, though some whales have white patches on the belly. They are the only living whale or dolphin that has a single blowhole asymmetrically situated on the left side of the crown of the head. Their heads are extremely large, accounting for about one-third of total body length. The skin just behind the head is often wrinkled. Their lower jaw is narrow and the portion of the jaw closest to the teeth is white. The interior of the mouth is often bright white as well. There are between 20 and 26 large teeth in each side of the lower jaw. The teeth in the upper jaw rarely break through the gums. weak and nonfunctional. The lower teeth fit into sockets in the upper jaw. [Source: NOAA]
Sperm whales are endothermic (use their metabolism to generate heat and regulate body temperature independent of the temperatures around them) and homoiothermic (warm-blooded, having a constant body temperature, usually higher than the temperature of their surroundings). The enormous box-like head of sperm whales sets it apart from all other whale species.. The blowhole slit is S-shaped and positioned on the left side of the head. age. Both sexes have white in the genital and anal regions and on the lower jaws. The gullet of sperm whales is the largest among whales, dolphins, and porpoises; it is in fact the only gullet large enough to swallow a human. [Source: Liz Ballenger, Animal Diversity Web (ADW)]
Sperm whale flippers are paddle-shaped and small compared to the size of the body, and their flukes (tails) are triangular. They have small dorsal fins that are low, thick, and usually rounded. In the area of the dorsal fin is a hump and a series of longitudinal ridges on the back. Their pectoral fins only around two meters long (6.5 feet). Their Tail flukes are four to 4.5 meters (13 to 14.5 feet). The blubber layer of the giant sperm whale is quite thick, up to 35 centimeters.
Sperm Whale Head and Spermaceti Organ
The head of a large sperm whale male can be 7.5 meters (25 feet) long and take up a third of whale’s body. The sperm whale’s forehead has been described as an “enormous, thick-skinned, fiber-reinforced bulb.” It sits on the wide upper jaw at the front part of the skull. Much of it is occupied by the oil-filled spermaceti organ, which is unique to sperm males. It also contains a melon, which other whales possess and is used in echolocation.
The rostrum (front) of the sperm whale is broad, flat, and triangular. The lower jaw is very long and narrow, but does not reach the end of the rostrum. The thin lower jaw is shorter than the snout and is only about one meter wide at its widest point. The mouth is filled with strong ivory-like teeth that are 20 to 30 centimeters (8 to 12 inches) long. The blowhole lies at the front of the head slightly to the left of center. It is connected to “wide pockets” at the front of the spermaceti organ and these in turn are connected to nasal passages that connect to the lungs and a pair of “lips” — used in compressing the body at great depths.
The function of the spermaceti organ is not entirely known. It may serve to focus and reflect sound or may be a cooling organ to diminish the whale's volume and its buoyancy during prolonged dives. The spermaceti organ evolved around 20 million years ago and has two oil-filled chambers. The upper one, called a case, is a huge fibrous cask filled with as much as 500 gallons of valuable spermaceti oil. The lower one, called a jun, contains it own oil plus connective tissue. In males the spermaceti organ keeps growing even after the male has matured and is so large that it takes up most of the head, or about a third of the total length of the whale, jutting beyond the jaws. Even in females and immature males it can make up almost a forth of the whale’s total weight.
The reason why sperm whales have such massive heads is a mystery, especially when one considers that it is so large that it makes it difficult for the whale to the maneuver and the spermaceti oil that makes up most of it is actually quite toxic to the animal. Some scientists think the sperm whale uses its large head as a sort of resonating chamber to amplify and magnify sounds and focus them to stun prey or produce resonating sounds that appeal to potential mates. Others argue that because the spermaceti oil weighs less that water it play an important role in buoyancy control. Yet other say its serves as a shock absorber — a kind of boxing glove — for battling males.
According to Animal Diversity Web: The facial depression of physeterids extends to the sides of the skull and roofs over the temporal fossa, hiding the zygomatic arches from dorsal view. At the rear, it terminates in a high, semicircular occipital crest. The mandibular symphysis is more than 33 percent the length of the rami. The number of teeth ranges from 1/8 to 0/16 in Kogia and 0/25 in Physeter. [Source: Phil Myers, Animal Diversity Web (ADW) /=]
Sperm Whale Brain — the Largest of Any Animal
Sperm whales have the largest brain of any animal in terms of mass. The biggest ones weigh approximately nine kilograms (20 pounds) — about 2.3 kilograms (5 pounds) larger than the brain of the blue whale and five times larger than a human brain.
Sara Novak wrote in Discover: Though it’s true that brain size doesn’t necessarily translate into brain power, a 2014 study published in Brain, Behavior and Evolution found that while both sperm whales and killer whales have among the biggest brains of toothed whales, their brains are very different in their makeup. The sperm whale’s cerebellum is only about 7 percent of its total brain mass, while the killer whale’s cerebellum is twice that size. Researchers contend that while sperm whales have bigger brains, their makeup means they might not be as smart as other marine mammals, namely the killer whale. “The larger cerebellum in the killer whale may be related to its more active vision and visuomotor skills, its wider range of sound production, and its hunting activities with more types of prey,” write the study’s authors. [Source: Sara Novak, Discover, November 19, 2022]
Animals that have big brains — including sperm whales, apes and humans — usually have a few things in common. They usually live long lives; for example, sperm whales can live for 70 years or longer. Additionally, they’re capable of complex behaviors and they tend to be more social. Whales may work together to hunt or communicate in a language all their own.
What’s more, humans, whales and dolphins all have spindle neurons in their brains. These nerve cells make us capable of deeper thought, such as reasoning skills, memory, communication and adaptive thinking. And like humans, whales have emotional intelligence — meaning they’re capable of empathy, grief and sadness. Still, in proportion to our body size, the human brain is bigger than that of the sperm whale.
Sperm Whale Swimming and Diving
Sperm whales are very deep divers and may stay submerged from 20 minutes to over an hour. When they surface, they typically blow 20-70 times before redescending. They produce a visible spout made by the condensation of the moisture combined with a mucous foam from the sinuses. Giant sperm whales typically swim at speeds no faster than 10 kilometers per hour (6 miles per hour), but when disturbed they can attain speeds of 32 kilometers per hour (20 miles per hour). A study of sperm whales found one individual that spent a total of 62 hours deep in the sea over a four day period. The whale repeatedly dived to a depth of about 1,200 meters and stayed there for 40 minutes before surfacing.
Sperm whales move swim through the water by using undulating body movements and moving their flukes (tails) up and down. Their small pectoral fins on the sides of their body enable them to maneuver through the water.The fused neck vertebrae in toothed whales increases stability when swimming at high speeds but decreases flexibility, rendering them incapable of turning their heads. When swimming, toothed whales rely on their tail fins to propel them through the water. Flipper movement is continuous. They swim by moving their tail fin and lower body up and down, propelling themselves through vertical movement, while their flippers are mainly used for steering. Some species log out of the water, which may allow them to travel faster. Most species have a dorsal fin. [Source: Wikipedia]
Sperm whales have been known to dive as deeply as 3,200 meters (10,500 feet) in the ocean — the deepest dives by a surface-dwelling animal. According to the University of Hawaii: It has a host of specializations that allow it to dive to amazing depths. The rib cage and lungs of the whale are actually adapted to collapse under pressure, squeezing all the air the lungs contain into a small space. When the sperm whale dives, the concentration of oxygen containing molecules in the blood and muscles—hemoglobin and myoglobin—are increased to hold more oxygen in the tissues. The whale experiences a reflexive response to the cold temperatures of the deep waters called bradycardia. Bradycardia is a slowing of the heart rate, which means that all physiological processes slow down and the whale consumes less oxygen. [Source: Compare-Contrast-Connect: The Deep Divers, University of Hawaii, lesson plan]
Deep-Diving Sperm Whales Suffer from the Bends
Sperm whales routinely dive more than three kilometers (two miles) below the ocean surface to hunt for squid. Associated Press reported: It has long been believed that sperm whales and other deep-diving mammals are immune from decompression illness, or the bends, which human divers encounter when they surface too rapidly and force nitrogen bubbles into their blood and tissues. In a study published in the journal Science in December 2004, Michael J. Moore and Greg A. Early of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution found evidence of the bends in bones of modern sperm whales, but they also found the same damaged skeletons in whale bones up to 111 years old. This suggests, said Moore, that sperm whales are neither anatomically or physiologically immune from the effects of deep diving, even though they spend much of their 70-year lifetime at great ocean depths. [Source: Associated Press, December 24, 2004]
Decompression illness is caused when an air breather, such as human or a whale, is put under great pressure, such as in a deep dive, followed by a quick release of the pressure, as happens when a diver surfaces too quickly. Under great pressure, nitrogen inhaled from the atmosphere supersaturates the body's tissue. When the pressure is released suddenly, the nitrogen reverts to gas and forms bubbles in the tissue and in the blood. When the bubbles enter a vessel, they can block the flow of blood, starving the tissue of oxygen. When this happens in bone and cartilage, the bone dies and is not repaired, said Moore. The result leaves pits and lesions in the bones. If there are repeated cases of bends, the injuries expand and eventually form deep gaps in the bone. In humans, this condition, called osteonecrosis, is typically caused by the bends.
Moore and Early found the same condition when they examined the skeletons of sperm whales. They found that the older the animal was at death, the more bone damage from bends was evident. Moore said the study shows that the decompression injury commonly experienced by the sperm whale "is not associated with any modern industrial or man-made changes over the last century." "It is a cumulative, non-lethal cost of doing business for the sperm whale," said Moore.
He said sperm whales apparently avoid decompression injury by controlling how rapidly they surface to breathe and how long they spend on the surface. As a result Moore said that any human activity that changes a whale's behavior could cause it to be further injured by the bends. For instance, said Moore, if acoustic signals from submarines or other human activities caused a sperm whale to surface too rapidly or to remain on the surface too long, it could trigger the bends and cause injury to the animal. "If any acoustic stressors (such as submarine radio or sonar signals) were to override normal behavior, then they may run the risk of getting acute nitrogen problems which could cause pain and potentially strand them," said Moore. "This study opens the question that acoustic stressors may be impacting the normal physiology of these animals."
Dwarf Sperm Whales
Dwarf sperm whales (Scientific name: Kogia sima) are found in temperate and tropical seas worldwide. They appear very similar to pygmy sperm whales. In the field, it is very difficult to distinguish between the two species because they can be so easily confused. Both species are poorly understood due to the limited availability of information and their cryptic appearance at sea. Dwarf sperm whales are named after the waxy spermaceti found their head as is the case with bigger sperm whales. Similar to squids, dwarf sperm whales can produce a dark, ink-like liquid that helps them escape from predators. [Source: NOAA]
In the United States, dwarf sperm whales live in the waters of Hawaii, the Pacific Northwest and California, the western North Atlantic, and the northern Gulf of Mexico. They may be more common off the southeastern coast, as more strandings have happened in this area. Dwarf sperm whales are also the sixth most commonly seen toothed whale around the Hawaiian Islands. In the Southern Hemisphere, dwarf sperm whales live in the waters around Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Chile, southern Brazil, and South Africa. In the Northern Hemisphere, they live in the waters around Oman, the Persian Gulf, the Maldives, Japan, British Columbia, the Gulf of California, the Gulf of Mexico, and northwestern Europe. Their migration patterns are currently unknown.
Dwarf sperm whales can live up to 22 years..They are usually seen over the continental shelf and slope. However, dietary evidence suggests that these whales forage in deeper waters, diving to 300 meters (1,000 feet). They may feed in slightly shallower waters than pygmy sperm whales. They eat cephalopods (such as, squid and octopus), crustaceans (such as, crabs and shrimp), and fish. Like bats, dwarf sperm whales use echolocation to locate prey, meaning they use sound to navigate and "see" the world around them. They do so by producing sounds from their melons (or foreheads) that reflect off of the objects around them. Dwarf sperm whales also appear to employ a suction feeding strategy to capture prey[Source: NOAA]
Dwarf sperm whales’ use of the "squid tactic" makes them unique among whales. While there are no direct observations of predation on dwarf sperm whales, it is assumed that large carnivores such as killer whales, tiger sharks and great white sharks may prey on them. The dark reddish-brown liquid they eject when threatened comes from a sac located in the lower portion of the intestine. It can eject over 12 liters of liquid to create a dense cloud which may frighten predators or distract them..[Source: Jessie Chhoum and Richard Tang, Animal Diversity Web (ADW) /=]
Dwarf sperm whales usually avoid vessels and planes, the tools that scientists use to measure population size. Additionally, the whales only come to the water’s surface when the sea and weather conditions are very calm. As a result, scientists rarely see dwarf sperm whales at sea. This makes it difficult to estimate their minimum population size or current population trends. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) places them: Appendix II, which lists species not necessarily threatened with extinction now but that may become so unless trade is closely controlled. “Data Deficient” is how the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List lists them.
Dwarf Sperm Whale Characteristics and Behavior
Dwarf sperm whales range in length from 2.1 to 2.7 meters (7 to 8 feet) and range in weight from 135 to 270 kilograms (300 to 600 pounds). Males are larger than females. Dwarf sperm whales can sometimes be confused with pygmy sperm whales, their closest relative. These two types of whales were not distinguished as separate species until 1966. In the wild, it is very difficult to distinguish between the two species because they have similar appearances and geographic ranges. [Source: NOAA; Jessie Chhoum and Richard Tang, Animal Diversity Web (ADW) /=]
Dwarf sperm whales have a small, compact body with a small dorsal fin located near the middle of their back. Each individual whale’s dorsal fin is a slightly different shape. While on the water’s surface, dwarf sperm whales have a low profile because their head and back are somewhat flat. Their head is sometimes described as shark-like because of its pointed snout and narrow, underslung lower jaw. They have a marking behind the eye that is often called a "false gill” because it looks similar to a fish's gill cover or slit. Dwarf sperm whales have a brown to blue-gray colored back. Their underside is paler with white or pink tones. They have up to three pairs of teeth in the upper jaw and seven to 13 pairs of teeth in the lower jaw. Their eyes are dark and bulging with a dark ring surrounding them. [Source: NOAA]
Dwarf sperm whales are usually seen either alone or in small groups of six to 16 individuals. These groups can vary based on age and sex, but little else is known about their social organization. Dwarf sperm whales spend very little time at the water’s surface and almost never approach vessels. When they are seen at the surface, they are usually either swimming slowly or lying still (also known as logging). Their blows are not visible when they surface. They will slowly sink and disappear from view without showing their flukes before diving back into the water.
Dwarf sperm whales are viviparous, meaning they give birth to live young that developed in the body of the mother. They engage in seasonal breeding. Females may give birth annually. Births seem to occur mainly in summer, suggesting breeding in fall or winter of the previous year. The number of offspring is one. The gestation period is around nine months.
Pygmy Sperm Whales
Pygmy sperm are found in temperate, subtropical and tropical seas worldwide. They look very similar to dwarf sperm whales, making it very difficult to distinguish between the two species in the field. Pygmy sperm whales and dwarf sperm whales are close relatives. They were not distinguished as separate species until 1966. Little is known about both of them. Like squid and dwarf sperm whales, pygmy sperm whales can produce a dark, ink-like liquid that helps them escape from predators. [Source: NOAA]
Pygmy sperm whales have a wide distribution. They are most common off coasts and along continental shelves (the edges of continents lying under the ocean). In the United States, pygmy sperm whales live off the coasts of Hawaii, the Pacific Northwest, the North Atlantic, and the northern Gulf of Mexico. They may be most common off the southeastern coasts, as the most strandings have occurred there. In the Southern Hemisphere, pygmy sperm whales live in the Tasman Sea and the waters around Chile, South Africa, and Uruguay. In the Northern Hemisphere, they live in the waters around the Netherlands, northwestern Europe, the Azores, Nova Scotia, and Japan. Their migration patterns are currently unknown.
Pygmy sperm whales can live up to 23 years. They reach sexual maturity when they are 4 to 5 years old. The mating and calving season lasts about 9 months and peaks in March through August in the Northern Hemisphere. Pregnancy lasts for about 9 to 11 months, and females can give birth multiple years in a row. Calves are weaned after 1 year. As is true with dwarf pygmy whales, it is it difficult to estimate population size or current population trends of pygmy sperm whales and determine of they are endangered or not.
Pygmy Sperm Whale Characteristics and Behavior
Pygmy sperm whales have a small, compact body with a small and rounded dorsal fin. Each individual whale’s dorsal fin is a slightly different shape. While on the water’s surface, pygmy sperm whales have a low profile because their head and back are somewhat flat. Their head is sometimes described as shark-like because of their pointed snout and narrow, underslung lower jaw. [Source: NOAA]
Pygmy sperm whales have wrinkled skin and a brown to blue-gray back. Their underside is paler with white or pink tones. They do not have teeth in their upper jaw but have 10 to 16 pairs of teeth in the lower jaw. Their eyes are dark and bulging, and they have a marking behind the eye that is often called a false gill because it looks like a fish's gill cover or slit.
Pygmy sperm whales are usually seen either alone or in small groups of six to seven individuals. These groups can vary based on age and sex, but little else is known about their social organization. Pygmy sperm whales spend very little time at the water’s surface and almost never approach vessels. When they are seen at the surface, they are usually either swimming slowly or lying still (also known as “logging”). They will slowly sink and disappear from view without showing their flukes before diving back into the water. While they do have a blowhole, they do not have a visible blow at the surface.
Pygmy sperm whales’ use of the "squid tactic" makes them unique among other types of whales except dwarf sperm whales. Each pygmy sperm whale has a sac filled with dark liquid in its intestine. The whale can release more than 3 gallons of dark, reddish-brown liquid, or “ink,” from this sac. The liquid creates a dark cloud in the water to help protect the whales when they feel threatened or are trying to escape predators.
Pygmy sperm whales can dive at least 300 meters (1,000 feet) in search of food. They typically feed in mid- and deep-water environments, as well as near the ocean floor. They eat cephalopods (e.g., squid and octopus), crustaceans (e.g., crabs and shrimp), and fish. The whales use echolocation to locate prey. This means that, like bats, pygmy sperm whales use sound to navigate and "see" the world around them. They do so by producing sounds from their melons (or foreheads) that reflect off the objects around them, which the whales perceive as echoes.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons, NOAA, Diving ability from New Zealand government
Text Sources: Animal Diversity Web (ADW) animaldiversity.org; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) noaa.gov; Wikipedia, National Geographic, Live Science, BBC, Smithsonian, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The New Yorker, Reuters, Associated Press, Lonely Planet Guides and various books and other publications.
Last Updated May 2023