Pilot whale Facts

Pilot whale Facts
Pilot whale belongs to the family of dolphins. There are two species of pilot whales: short- and long-finned pilot whale, that differ in the size of the pectoral flippers and type of habitat where they can be found. Short-finned pilot whales live in warm, subtropical and tropical waters, while long-finned pilot whales inhabit colder waters. People hunt pilot whales because of their meat, oil and bones. These whales also often end up stranded on the beaches due to changes in the magnetic field or parasitic infections of the brain. Despite these factors, pilot whales are numerous in the wild.
Interesting Pilot whale Facts:
Pilot whale can reach 16 to 25 feet in length and 1 to 3 tons of weight. Males are much larger than females.
Pilot whales are black or dark grey colored with white, anchor-shaped mark below chin.
Pilot whale has large, rounded head, short beak, stocky body (that narrows toward the tail) and sickle-shaped flippers. Mouth are equipped with 40 to 48 teeth designed for catching of prey.
Pilot whale usually hunts during the night (nocturnal animal).
Pilot whale is a carnivore (meat-eater). Its diet is based on squids (including the giant squid), octopuses and various fish. It can eat up to 70 pounds of food per day.
Pilot whales hunt in the group. They use high-pitched whistles to coordinate their positions. Pilot whale circulate around the prey until the victim is trapped in the center of the group.
Pilot whales are very intelligent animals. They are often kept in the aquariums and zoos where they are trained to perform various acrobatics and entertain the visitors.
Pilot whales produce clicks and obtain information about their environment based on the echoes of the clicks that bounce off the objects in front of them (echo-location). This technique is used for the navigation in the water, detection of food and avoidance of predators.
Pilot whales can spend 10 to 16 minutes under the water and quickly dive to the depth of 1.600 feet. That's why they are also known as "cheetahs of the deep".
Pilot whales are social creatures that live in groups of 10 to 30, occasionally up to 100 animals.
Pilot whales communicate via whistles, clicks, squeals and whining and snoring sounds.
Males fight for the attention of females by butting, ramming and biting each other.
Pregnancy lasts 12 to 15 months and ends with one baby (calf). Baby depends on the mother's milk during the first two years of its life. Older females occasionally nurse their babies until the age of 10 years. Females produce offspring once every 3 to 5 years.
Females reach sexual maturity at the age of 9 years, males at the age of 15 years.
Pilot whales can survive from 45 (males) to 60 (females) years in the wild.

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