Image of Whale under water



Scientific Name: Hyperoodon planifrons
Other Names: Flathead, Antarctic Bottlenosed Whale

The Southern Bottlenose Whale is seldom seen, and not much is known about it. Still, it is one of the most abundant whale species in the Antarctic waters. It is probably best identified by its extremely bulbous forehead, which is even more pronounced in males and keeps growing with age. There are usually two front teeth in the bottom jaw, which only erupt in males.

Image of a drawings of Southern Bottlenose Whales

Drawings of Southern Bottlenose Whales.

Physical Characteristics

The body is usually brown or brown-grey with lighter cream or grey markings on the belly or underside. This whale has a very small dorsal fin that is situated rather far behind the centre of the back. It is either triangular or a little falcate in shape. The pectoral flippers are small with a pointed tip, while the broad flukes have concave trailing edges.

The beak is small in proportion to the head and is lighter in colour. This light shade extends up onto the forehead. There is an indentation behind the head, in which the wide blowhole is situated.

Adult Southern Bottlenoses reach between six and 7.5 metres (or 20 to 24.5 feet) in length and weigh about six to eight tonnes.

Due to its location in the Antarctic Ocean, this whale species is not often seen. Therefore, it is not known whether they are shy and do not approach boats as a result, or if they are simply not observed.

The Southern Bottlenose Whale stays underwater for an extended period of time, surfacing for at least 10 minutes at a time. They give a bushy blow every 30 or so seconds. When it swims particularly fast (usually when under threat), it might raise its head clear of the water when surfacing.

They usually travel in pods of fewer than 10, sometimes even alone. However, larger groups of up to 25 individuals have been known to occur.

Where to Find Them
The Southern Bottlenose Whale is found in the deep, icy waters of the Southern Hemisphere. They may travel as far north as the very tip of South Africa and Australia, as well as the bottom half of South America. During summer, it sticks close to the ice edge of the Antarctic.

The teeth in the lower jaw of the males usually erupt, but they have been known to have four or no teeth at all. For this reason, this whale species feeds mainly on soft squid and, when available, small fish and other invertebrates.

Due to the fact that it occupies such a limited territory (and one with a relatively low human population), the Southern Bottlenose Dolphin does not face many of the threats usually endangering cetaceans.

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