Sperm whales feed mainly on large squid, which they find plunging down to more than 2km depth, where they can stay for over an hour! Sperm whales are the largest of the Odontoceti (toothed whales), measuring up to 18m long and weighing 40 tons.
They have a very prominent head that can account for as much as a third of their length and that contains a special oil known as ‘spermaceti’. The spermaceti varies in density depending on the temperature. In the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries sperm whales were hunted for their spermaceti and blubber, highly valued for the production of candles, soap, cosmetics, specialized lubricants, lamp oil, pencils, crayons, leather waterproofing, rust-proofing materials and many pharmaceutical compounds