On the 28th June at 09:30 observers were shocked to see a large whale very close to the shore off Torbay, South Devon. It was in fact a sperm whale Physeter macrocephalus, the largest toothed whale on the planet reaching more than 18 metres in length. The most distinguishing feature of this species in the huge square head which is one third to one quarter of the total body length. Another good way to recognize this species is the blow which has a forward and left direction unlike other whales. This species feeds on deep sea squid and fish close to the edge of the continental shelf in the North Atlantic. It is rare for these animals to come onto the shelf into shallow waters although they occasionally have ventured into the western English Channel. However, it is very rare for the animal to travel as far east as this in Channel and to come so close to shore. There have been further reports later in the day of the animal travelling towards Berry Head. To view the video taken by observer Dean Tapley click here.
Please report any future sightings of this animal to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01545 561227.