There are 2 known species of pilot whale, the long-finned and the short-finned. Pilot whales are part of the dolphin family. These beautiful animals are hunted for their oil, meat, and bones. They sometimes beach themselves due to parasitic infections in their brains and changes in the earth’s magnetic field. They are the second largest dolphin in the world, after the orca. Pilots are listed as Least Concern by the IUCN. This applies to both short and long-finned species. There are approximately 1.2 million pilots in the world today.
First the Stats…
Scientific name: Globicephala
Weight: Up to 6,000 lbs.
Length: Up to 19 feet
Lifespan: Up to 45 years
Now on to the Facts!
1.) Short-finned pilots inhabit warmer waters and long-finned pilots prefer colder waters.
2.) These dolphins are nocturnal (active at night).
3.) The pilot whale eats squid (even the giant squid), octopus, and fish.
4.) They are preyed on by orca and the young are also preyed on by larger sharks.
5.) Pilots can be seen in pods of up to 100+ strong.
But wait, there’s more on the pilot whale!
6.) Like other whales and dolphins, they use echolocation to locate prey.
7.) Males fight for breeding rights by head butting, ramming, and biting each other.
Did you know…?
Pilot whales eat up to 70 lbs. of food a day!
8.) Females give birth to a single calf after a 12 – 15 month pregnancy.
9.) Female short-finned pilot whales are one of the few mammalian species where females go through menopause.
10.) Both male and female pilot whales stay in their mother’s pod.
Now a Short Pilot Whale Video!
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