E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Wildlife of British Columbia

Physeter macrocephalus Linnaeus, 1758
Sperm Whale
Family: Physeteridae

Photo of species

© Stef Olcen  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #16265)

E-Fauna BC Static Map
Distribution of Physeter macrocephalus in British Columbia
Details about map content are available here.


The Sperm Whale has a large geographic range and is found worldwide mainly in the open sea in ice free waters greater than 1000 m in depth; in some areas they (mainly mailes) may be found in shallower waters (Taylor et al. 2008, Wikipedia 2012). It is rarely seen in BC.

Sperm Whales are the largest toothed whales and may reach lengths of 18 m, with males up to 50% longer than femailes (Wild Whales 2012). They are dark brown-grey in colour with wrinkled-looking skin, a rounded hump, and a distinctive very large, square-shaped head (Wild Whales 2012). Sperm Whales are carnivores; their primary food is the Giant Squid (Wild Whales 2012).

Numbers of this species were significantly reduced by commercial whaling, however numbers are still relatively large (Wild Whales 2012).

Status Information

Origin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)
NativeS3S4BlueNAR (May 1996)
BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.

Additional Range and Status Information Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References

Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2021. E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Fauna of British Columbia [efauna.bc.ca]. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed: 2024-07-23 1:26:17 AM]
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