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Cape Cod Sperm Whales

Back in the days of whaling, the sperm whale yielded the finest and most valuable oil. The sperm whale, a toothed whale, has teeth, but only in the lower jaw.

However, the ivory of the teeth discolors and doesn’t bring a high price. The teeth were often decorated with artwork known as scrimshaw. The yield of oil in a full-grown sperm whale averages about 100 barrels one-third to one-half are from the head of the whale.

A unique feature of the sperm whale is the case, or cavity in the head, from which twelve to fifteen barrels of oil can be bailed out. The “junk”, or cheeks and lips, are also a rich source of oil.

Sperm whales inhabit the North Atlantic Ocean, the coast of Central America, and the borders of the Gulf Stream. They are generally timid (except for this one) and flee rather than fight. Their principal source of food is the squid, or cuttlefish.

Sperm whales are also known to eat “giant squid”. We know this because some sperm whales have been found to have “sucker marks” the size of dinner plates on their bodies from battles with the giant squids.

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Cape Cod
Posted by Cape Cod - (website) on 06/16/06
Categories: Nature
Keywords: critters, nature, whaling, whale oil, sperm whale, giant squid


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