Up to 10 metres
Squid, fish, bottom-dwelling animals
At least up to 37 years
Surprise, surprise! Do you recognize me my dear friend? You’re not sure, yet? I can hear your voice is trembling with excitement. Is it your lucky day today after all?
Yes, you saw right! It’s me, a NORTHERN BOTTLENOSE WHALE, the largest member of the beaked whale family in the North Atlantic Ocean as I can grow up to 9,8 metres long and weigh between 5 and 7,5 tons.
I am sure you recognized me by my brownish appearance and the pale, almost cream coloured bulbous head. Did you know though that we are actually born with a rather dark skin colour that then becomes lighter as we age? Also, as we grow old, our skin gets more and more streaked with scars. If they’re caused by the teeth of other individuals? No, you silly human. Did you forget that we only have two teeth at the front end of the lower jaw? Additionally, these teeth only erupt in the males, but remain hidden in the gum in the females. No, my dear human, these scars are from either tussles or bites of the cookie-cutter shark – my only natural predator.
If I am alone? Oh no, the rest of my group is hanging out by the mountains on the other side of Skjálfandi Bay. I had a little argument with one of the other males, it happened we became a bit combative and used our heads to hit one another. So here I am, doing my own thing for a little while before joining my group again eventually. My group currently consists of seven individuals, but numbers change from time to time. However, some of us have been around each other for a long while now. We’re a mixed group indeed, but it is not unusual to find groups segregated by sex, age or life stage.
Oh, I can hear chatter on the radio of some boat having spotted the rest of my group? I hear they’re having fun while jumping and lobtailing. Don’t you even think about it. You’ll never make it. No doubts you know I can hold my breath for up to two hours if I wanted to – and so can they. They might be fun to watch right now, but could disappear within seconds. Stay with me, I am curious to get a better look at your boat right now.
Soon enough, it’s time for us to head back out to the open ocean surrounding Iceland, where we can dive to depths of 1.500 metres to find our favourite food, the deep-water squid. Do you want to know a little secret? While my small, pointed flippers are improving my manoeuvrability near or on the surface, I can tuck them away into flipper pockets on the sides of my body, making me even more streamlined while diving.
You’re still thinking about sailing over to the mountains? Well, see you on the other side then. And if not, maybe I’ll be around again tomorrow.
Relative size to a human