Scientific name: Physeter macrocephalus
Family: Physeteridae
Range: Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans
Habitat: Deep water
Status: Locally common
Population: 300,000-400,000
Diet: Squid, octopus and fish
Length: 15-18m (49-59ft), males larger
Weight: Males 38-55 tons, Females 20-27 tons



Broad and triangular, with prominent notch.

Dorsal Fin

Low hump with about 6 knuckles behind.


Fairly short and stubby.

Head Shape

Blunt head is up to one-third of body length. Underslung toothed lower jaw. Blowhole is near the tip of the snout and displaced slightly to the left.


Colour is dark grey to purplish brown. Last two-thirds of the body is usually wrinkled like a prune.

Group Size

Females typically in groups of 10-20 animals, including juveniles of both sexes; “bachelor” males in groups of 10-20; larger males in small groups or travelling alone, except during the breeding season.


Normally slow swimming but can rapidly accelerate if disturbed. Often lies almost motionless on the surface (“logging”). Occasionally lobtails or breaches. After a dive of 20-100 minutes, 20-70 blows usually follow at 12-20 second intervals.