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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 06, 2021

Cuvier's Beaked Whale: 21 Facts You Won't Believe!

The Cuvier's beaked whale facts about the species vulnerable to intense noise created by military sonar.

The vastness of the ocean and the secrets its depths hold and the expanse of the land and how each forest holds the untold. It is a blessing to experience nature in its most beautiful form and know more about its inhabitants – the existence of whom is indirectly essential for our survival. This fact file is about such an inhabitant of the ocean body, a Cuvier's beaked whale, a mammal dwelling in the wilderness of the deep oceans. Measuring around 23 ft (7 m) in length, a beaked whale is a cosmopolitan creature found across the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, as well as, other parts of the Southern Hemisphere. It belongs to the genus Ziphius and was first described by a French naturalist Georges Cuvier. Scientifically a Cuvier's beaked whale is known as Ziphius cavirostris.

It is common for their body to be covered in scars and scratches. Here are some of the most interesting facts about the Cuvier's beaked whales for your perusal. Afterwards, do check our other articles on sei whale facts and killer whale facts.

Cuvier's Beaked Whale Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Cuvier's beaked whale?

A Cuvier's beaked whale is a whale found in the ocean and is characterized by the presence of a rostrum (mouth extending into a snout). It usually has a slat gray appearance and was first described by French Naturalist George Cuvier.

What class of animal does a Cuvier's beaked whale belong to?

A Cuvier's beaked whale with the scientific name Ziphius cavirostris is an aquatic mammal of phylum Chordata in the kingdom Animalia. It further belongs to the beaked whale family of Ziphadiiae, the family of beaked whales in the infraorder Cetacea, consisting of whales under the order Artiodactyla. According to studies, these whales frequent currents, current boundaries, and core ring features.

How many Cuvier's beaked whales are there in the world?

A Cuvier's beaked whale is the most common type of whale with its population exceeding a count of 100,000 in numbers. In the eastern tropical Pacific, they are present around 80,000 in number. Around 1,900 whales are often spotted near the west coast of the United States. Around 15,000 are spotted near Hawaii.

Where does a Cuvier's beaked whale live?

These large-sized aquatic mammals live in the ocean and sea surface. They are cosmopolitan beings and are found in the tropics in cooler regions and the temperate sea of the North Pacific. They are found across the far north in the Atlantic near Canada, the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean, and the Mediterranean Sea to name a few.

What is a Cuvier's beaked whale's habitat?

A Cuvier's beaked is a pelagic mammal and is mostly found in the deep ocean waters foraging and mostly feeding on a variety of squids. The vastness of the ocean water is their home and they are found migrating regularly across it in search of food.

Who do Cuvier's beaked whales live with?

Mostly Cuvier's beaked whales or cookie-cutter sharks are found alone in canary islands, especially the large-sized whales. But during foraging, beaked whales may be seen in small groups consisting of seven individuals at least. A calf stays with the mother whale after birth for days until it is mature enough to fend on its own.

How long does a Cuvier's beaked whale live?

Longevity in this species is similar to humans. The individual beaked whales caught for the purpose of research had lived for around 30-40 years, though their lifespan may extend beyond 60 years of age according to biologists.

How do they reproduce?

Reproduction in the Cuvier's beaked whales is similar to that of other mammals. Meiosis in both produce haploid gametes. After mating, a male haploid sperm fuses with a haploid female egg to produce a diploid zygote. Then after a gestation period of over a year, a female gives birth to one calf.

What is their conservation status?

These whale Cuvier's beaked whales are very common and are found in various regions throughout life history. Their numbers are stable for now and hence they fall in the Least Concern category of animals by the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Climate change may affect their population, however, they are not Endangered.

Cuvier's Beaked Whale Fun Facts

What do Cuvier's beaked whales look like?

As the name suggests, Cuvier's beaked whales have a feature that looks like a beak, more specifically a snout that appears like a beak. Its body is cigar-shaped, curved, and very robust in appearance, and is almost indistinguishable from the Mesoplodon whales present at the sea. A mature male has a dark gray skin color, but its head is distinctly lighter or perhaps even whiter in appearance. Females show variable coloration throughout their bodies that may range from gray to reddish-brown. They possess a small dorsal fin and head, two throat grooves, and a prominent jaw line. These Cuvier's beaked whales mammals are really heavy and at birth, and their bodies may weigh around 500 lb (226.7 kg) on average and grow over 8 ft (2.4 m) in length.

When these beaked whales blow the air out of the blowhole, it makes a stream of watery mist.

How cute are they?

These Cuvier's beaked whales are very cute in appearance. A spectator watching these mammals may feel that they are smiling because of the arrangement and the look of their mouth. These animals are intelligent and many may perceive them as adorable beings. But the scratches and scars on their body do render them a distinct appearance.

How do they communicate?

These Cuvier's beaked whales are constantly foraging, for which they use echolocation and their other vocal abilities. A variety of vocalizations produced by these mammals has been recorded by the scientists using Digital Acoustic Recording Tags. They produce click sound, click trains and buzzing sound has been recorded when they dive. Divers also try to communicate with this beaked whale Cuvier's species.

How big is a Cuvier's beaked whale?

A Cuvier’s beaked whale Ziphius cavirostris may grow twice or even thrice the size of an average human being. They may grow between the range of 15-23 ft (4.5-7 m) on average. A baby whale may be born with a length range of up to 8 ft (2.4 m).

How fast can a Cuvier's beaked whale swim?

Whales are one of the fastest animals to happen on earth. On average, adult males may swim with a speed of up to 22 mph (35.4 kph). They are fast and can continuously swim over 222 minutes while foraging and can do so at depths of up to 9,816 ft (2,992 m) below the surface of the water.

How much does a Cuvier's beaked whale weigh?

This species is a heavy mammal. At birth, they may weigh around 500 lb (226.8 kg) on average, and on reaching maturity they may weigh around 4000-6800 lb (1814-3084 kg) or even more.

What are the male and female names of the species?

Both sexes, male and female beaked whale species, are referred to by separate names. A female whale is referred to as a cow and a male is referred to as a bull. A cow or a female whale is wholly responsible for childcare and the male whales do not take any part in raising them. Also, a male has a considerably larger head than a female whale. Distinct features of adult males are two large and cylindrical teeth that are present along the tip of the lower jaw. Moreover, the lower jaw extends beyond the upper jaw.

What would you call a baby Cuvier's beaked whale?

A baby of this species is referred to as a calf. A calf at birth may weigh around 500 lb (226.8 kg) on average and measure around 8 ft (2.4 m) in length. The calf spends most of its time during childhood with the mother whale and forages alongside her.

What do they eat?

A Cuvier's beaked whale forages between 1000-2000 ft (305-610 m) level in the Mediterranean Sea. The whales of both the Pacific Ocean and the Mediterranean region and predominantly feed on a variety of squid species such as Cranchiidae, Onychoteuthidae, Brachioteuthidae, Enoploteuthidae, Octopoteuthidae, and Histioteuthidae, and other fish found at the deep sea level.

Are they dangerous?

A Cuvier's beaked whale is not really a dangerous species. They are sort of docile and do no harm in general. But if they are threatened by danger, then they may use their flippers in defense against the threat. Otherwise, they are not really harmful.

Would they make a good pet?

These animals are pelagic. They require a large amount of water and space to survive. It is a very bad idea to take them as pets. A whale dwells in the wilderness of the ocean water and is made to survive in the same. Besides, they are protected under various acts such as the ASCOBANS agreement and ACCOBAMS agreement. So, taking them as pets might put you in danger.

Did you know...

These whales were frequently caught by the  Japanese whalers. Until the 1900s, more than 4,000 whales were reportedly caught. They were caught for trade, meat, etc. to save them from this threat various agreements were created.

The beaked whales are the second-largest family of cetaceans, after the dolphins.

Cuvier's beaked whales draw their scientific name from the Greek word 'xiphos', which translates into 'sword'. The Latin name comes from the words 'cavus' and 'rostrum' which mean 'hollow' and 'beak'.

How deep can a Cuvier beaked whale dive?

Whales in general go really deep in water and especially for foraging. This species dives as deep as 9,816 ft (2,992 m) under the water surface. They mostly dive deep in search of large squids to feed on.

Do beaked whales have teeth?

Beaked whales are distinctive and have one or two sets of teeth, also called tusks. Females usually don't have teeth, but male Cuvier's beaked whale may show a pair or two.  

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Omura's whale facts and pygmy hippopotamus facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable cuvier's beaked whale coloring pages.

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