Size: up to 20 metres
Weight: up to 50 tonnes
Speed: up to 30 km/hour
The sperm whale’s name derives from the spermaceti organ in its head. The famous whale of the novel Moby dick was a sperm whale. They are the largest of the toothed whales. One third of their body’s length is their head, which contains sperm oil, prized for centuries and used to light lamps, for medicinal purposes, as a lubricant and for cosmetics.
They mainly feed on squid and are thus usually found in very deep waters. Because of the depth they reach they can remain submerged for up to an hour.
Sperm whales are most commonly seen on whale watching tours from west Iceland in late spring and early summer (April/May to August/September) although they’ve also rarely been seen in north as well (Skjálfandi bay/Húsavík). The sperm whales around Iceland are males or bulls.