General

Pilot Whale

posted: 04/29/14
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Pilot Whale
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Allow me to introduce Myself: I am a Pilot Whale

Where You'll Most Likely Find Me: The deepest parts of the oceans in both the northern and southern hemispheres. Also in zoos and aquariums.

What I Like to Eat: Giant squid is our preference. We will settle for octopus and other small fish when squid is not available to us.

Betcha Didn't Know This About Me: We are extremely large, only second in size to the killer whale. We are members of the dolphin family.

Types: There are two types of pilot whales best identified by our fins: long-finned pilot whales and short-finned pilot whales. The long-finned type prefers colder waters, while the short-finned whales prefer warmer waters. Since it's sometimes hard to see our fins, most people just put us into one category. The two types don't cross paths much although we have been seen overlapping some waters.

Size: We're pretty big. Male pilot whales can grow between 20 and 25 feet while females stop at about 16 feet. Both genders tip the scales weighing in between 2,500 to 6,000 pounds. Don't let our size fool you. We can dive fast and into very deep waters.

Smarty Pants: We are extremely intelligent creatures. Many people say we are as smart as the bottlenose dolphin (but we think we are smarter). Because of our superior intelligence, we are easily trainable.

Young Whales: Mothers are pregnant with their calves for up to 16 months. Calves are born weighing more than 200 pounds and are nursed by their mother for almost two years.

Our Biggest Threat: We are social creatures, and men know this. Our social groups are called pods and can contain 30 or more whales. Hunters participate in what's called "dive fisheries" where groups of us are herded to the beach to be killed. We are hunted for our meat, bone and oil. Thankfully, we still are not considered to be endangered.

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