Baby Sperm Whale

We came across a baby sperm whale today, a fairly young one from the looks of it.

I'm tempted to say that the image below is a photograph of mother and calf, but it's difficult to tell with sperm whales, as they practice communal care of young.

baby sperm whale

Note: The baby is swimming upside-down.

Female sperm whales help one another to look after babies, going so far as to practice communal nursing. I saw this baby nurse a few times with one of the adult females, but still...there's no easy way to be completely certain of whether it was the baby's mother or not.

In fact, I saw the baby "switch" adults a few times too, moving from one large whale to another as the group swam along.

The baby was part of an extended family group of whales that we stayed with for a couple of hours or so. I'm not sure how many whales were in the group, but the most I saw at any one time underwater was 13 adults plus the baby.

The following photo shows the baby with seven other whales.

baby sperm whale and adults

Note: Photographs taken under permit.