Sri Lanka – Land of Ocean Giants

Header image – Sperm Whale ©Andrew Sutton, 2010 Sri Lanka

Whales roam through all of the worlds oceans, communicating with mysterious and complex sounds. Despite the fact that they roam through all the oceans in the world, they remain one of the least understood creatures today. Although they live in water, they breath air, and nurse their kids like we humans do.

There are 13 species of whales and 7 species among them are categorized as endangered animals. Among them 5 species can be seen in the rich feeding grounds around Sri Lanka.

4f429011176565.560f31557c0d9 Blue Whale           – (Status) Endangered
4f429011176565.560f31557c0d9Sperm Whale        – (Status) Vulnerable
4f429011176565.560f31557c0d9Fin Whale               – (Status) Endangered
4f429011176565.560f31557c0d9Sei Whale                – (Status) Endangered
4f429011176565.560f31557c0d9 Orca                          – (Status) Endangered

 

Anim1754_-_Flickr_-_NOAA_Photo_Library1
Blue  Whale        image source


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Size comparison of an average human and a blue whale  image source

 

 

From all the whale species mentioned above, Blue whales and Sperm whales are the most commonly spotted. Blue Whales are considered to be the biggest animals to ever exist on earth. An adult blue whale is 80-100 feet long and weigh about 200 tons.

Furthermore, they are the loudest animals on earth, and are even louder than a jet engine. A jet engine reaches 140 decibels, while a  blue whale’s call reaches 188 decibels.

 

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Sperm Whale – Mother and a calf    image source

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Size comparison of an average human and a sperm whale   image Source

 

Sperm Whales are the largest member of toothed whales. They are easily recognizable by their massive heads and rounded foreheads. They can dive as deep as 1000 meters in search for squids, their staple diet.

Sperm whales are usually seen in groups known as pods. These groups consist of females and calves, while males migrate alone and join with the pod only in the breeding season. Adult sperm whales are 40-65 feet long and weigh about 30-50 tons.

All whales are considered migrating animals as they travel thousands of kilometers from ocean to ocean searching for rich feeding grounds. Yet whales in Sri Lanka seem to live there throughout the year, benefiting from the richness of the ocean created by the islands 2 monsoon seasons. Whale watching season in Sri Lanka varies from place to place along with the change of monsoons. The best seasons to visit Sri Lanka for Whale watching are as follows.

4f429011176565.560f31557c0d9 Departure point – Mirissa or Galle     Best time to visit – November to April
4f429011176565.560f31557c0d9 Departure point – Trincomalee           Best time to visit – June to October

In the right season at the right place, there is a 90% of probability of seeing whales in Sri Lanka. Whether it is a calm giant blue whale or a nursing sperm whale pod, it will be an unforgettable experience in your life.

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