inspired by national geographic

quick whale illustration. by desiree east

quick whale illustration inspired by the great migration of Physeter macrocephalus (sperm whale)

we don’t have cable. we netflix. don’t judge.

i do admit, though, i do miss the occasional reality drama. people are funny and fascinating. kinda like the jersey shore crew…(i mean, WOW).

but still, those fools have nothing on national geographic’s series, ‘great migrations’ (cuz i’m a nerd like that).

my husband and i netflixed a couple of episodes of nat geo. then i got inspired.

media used: pen and ink {prismacolors: jad green, violet, rhodamine, apple green, aquamarine}

here are some fun facts about sperm whales – that’s Physeter macrocephalus, for all of my fellow geeky naturalists and friends (yeah, i’m talkin’ to you):

  • sperm whales don’t really look like my cartoon illustration, but one thing they do have are very large brains (the largest brain of any animal)…hence, the exaggerated head.
  • their very large heads also hold the oily substance called ‘spermaceti’, once hunted for a variety of uses, such as cosmetics, machine oil, and candles.
  • sperm whales don’t really float on the surface, as shown in the illustration above, unless they are ‘logging’ or floating, usually with their fluke (or tails) down (and again, it’s a cartoon, so cut me some slack).
  • exposing their flukes, or ‘lobtailing’, may be an indication of going down for a dive or slapping the surface of the water to communicate with their pod.
  • sperm whales are one of the deepest diving mammals, holding their breath for up to 90 minutes while diving.
  • sperm whales eat about a ton of food per day, which consists of squid, octopus, and fish. soooo let’s see…that’s about equal to a volkswagon beetle. or maybe an elephant. or even a hippo!
  • the classic novel moby dick was based on the actual events of a sperm whale that sank the ship ‘essex’ in the early 1800’s.
  • yes, for all of my local peeps, sperm whale have been sighted in the santa barbara channel, near channel islands national park.
  • the females and their calves usually travel in pods (yep, just like the illustration above with the mama and her bebe), and the males usually travel solo or move from group to group (because we all know how much guys like their freeeeeeedom).

(oh, i know! how un-scientific of me – personifying whales and turning them into cartoons!)

but whatevs, it’s all in good fun…i hope you enjoyed my lil’ illustration and learned something new!