1.) Sperm whales are the largest of the toothed whales. They can grow 45 feet in length.
2.) Sperm whales have teeth only in their lower jaw. The teeth fit into sockets in the upper jaw. Despite its narrow lower jaw and lack of teeth, sperm whales were capable of biting row boats in two during whale hunting in the 19th century.
3.) Sperm whales get their name from a special reservoir of semi liquid fat in the whale's forehead. It is called spermacetti. It was once used in place of petroleum for lubricating machinery and lighting oil lamps.
4.) Besides the spermacettii, Sperm whales also produce ambergis. This is a fatty substance found in the whale's droppings. It has a very strong but pleasent odor. Because of this, it is used in the most expensive perfumes.
5.) Like elephants, Sperm whales form herds (pods) composed of adult cows and young whales. Adult males (bulls) live solitary lives except when the cows come into heat. Young males leave the pod when they become sexually mature. Female calves probably stay with the pod all their lives.
6.) Sperm whales are found in all the world's oceans but tend to favor the cape of south Africa and the offshore waters of New Zealand. They were once plentiful off the coast of eastern North America. They can also be seen ocassionally in Hawaii and off the coast of Japan.
7.) Sperm whales are adapted to dive far below the ocean in search of food. Adults regurarly descend over a mile and can hold their breath for over an hour. They actually take short naps on their way back to the surface. Unlike humans, these animals don't have to depressurize after diving to great depths.
8.) Like all cetaceans (whales and dolphins), Sperm whales are carnivores. Unlike most whales which eat tiny shrimp called krill, Sperm whales eat large fish and squid. In fact the sperm whale eats the giant squid. At over 30 feet, this is the world's largest squid. Giant squid are found near the bottom of the ocean.
9.) There is no light near the bottom of the sea where the sperm whale hunts for food. The whale navigates by making a number of clicking and whistling sounds and then orients itself by listening to the echoes. Bats use the same navigation system. It is called echo location.
10.) Herman Melville wrote the book "Moby Dick" about the hunt for a giant, white sperm whale. Nearly all Sperm whales are black with grey bellies. However scientists have documented the birth of an extremely rare, pure white Sperm whale calf. Except for arctic animals which use white as camoflague against the snow, pure white animals are very rare. There have been instances of white tigers, elephants, gorillas and bison however.