(CBS4) — Much of what is known about beaked whales comes from stranded or beached ones. That’s because they’re the deepest and longest diving of all marine mammals. Regular dives range from 20-45 minutes, and commonly reach depths of at least 1,600-3,300 ft , but dives of over 54 minutes and up to 4,600 ft. have been recorded, according to NOAA. Therefore, sightings are rare.
A quarter of all the 80 whale and dolphin species belong to the family of beaked whales.
South Florida has about one or two beaked whale strandings a year, according to NOAA spokeswoman Connie Barclay. Strandings occur when the whales are disoriented, being chased or when a whale is sick.
There are forty different species of beaked whales and some grow to be as long as 15 to 20 ft and weigh up to a ton or more.
In some species, the males are easily identifiable because of their large visible tusk-like teeth that point forward from the heavily arched lower jaw.
A female beaked whale reaches sexual maturity at age 9 and will give birth to a single calf that is about 6 to 8.5 ft long and weighs about 130 pounds.
Source: NOAA and Whaleresearch.org