Sperm Whale and Giant Squid

Part of Hall of Ocean Life.

Diorama depicting a clash between a giant squid and sperm whale, with the squid's tentacles splayed across the whale's face. Matt Shanley/© AMNH 

The squid and whale diorama depicts a sperm whale clashing with its prey, a giant squid. The giant squid had never been seen in its natural habitat until 2005, when researchers got footage of an adult giant squid in the wild.

Whales fall into two groups: baleen and toothed, like this sperm whale. Despite impressive teeth, sperm whales use suction to pull in prey. They have been known to dive over 6,500 feet and remain under water for more than an hour in pursuit of giant squid.

Sperm whales often bear scars that match the suckers on a giant squid's tentacles. Also, the indigestible beaks and other body parts of the giant squid often turn up in the stomachs of sperm whales.