Jump to navigation. Moby Dick, arguably the most famous whale ever, was never real. But the vindictive fictional cetacean was inspired by the tale of a real-life sperm whale, which attacked and sunk the whaling boat Essex in the southern Pacific Ocean on Nov. Now, Hollywood is recreating that unusual tragedy.
When whales attack: the horrific truth about Moby-Dick
Sperm whales are the largest of all toothed whales, and the largest living toothed predators on Earth. They grow up to 67 feet Luckily, they primarily eat giant squid and not humans. But they were not easy to catch, and they did not go down without a fight. They were notorious for destroying small rowboats with ease, but they have been known to sink entire ships. In fact, in one instance, an angry bull sperm whale rammed and sank the Nantucket whaleship Essex. Even today, incidents of sperm whale aggression have been documented, although the attacks have always been provoked.
An extraordinary battle between sperm whales and orcas – in pictures
The inspiration for the white whale of Moby Dick, sperm whales have the largest heads, biggest brains, and make the loudest sound of any animal on Earth. Region: Arctic. Destinations: Lofoten, Greenland, Svalbard, Iceland. Sperm whales usually eat a little over kg almost 2, pounds of food per day. To find their prey preferably giant squid , they dive somewhere between and 1, metres and 4, feet , though they can go as deep as 2 km 1.
It is the only living member of the genus Physeter and one of three extant species in the sperm whale family , along with the pygmy sperm whale and dwarf sperm whale of the genus Kogia. The sperm whale is a pelagic mammal with a worldwide range, and will migrate seasonally for feeding and breeding. The females cooperate to protect and nurse their young. Females give birth every four to 20 years, and care for the calves for more than a decade.