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Toothed Whales

Odontoceti (odontocetes)

Toothed whales, also known as odontocetes, are a diverse group of cetaceans that includes over 70 different species. They are known for their intelligence and complex social behavior, and are able to use echolocation to navigate and hunt for food. Toothed whales range in size from the small vaquita and dwarf sperm whale, which can be under 6 feet long, to the Orca, which can grow up to 30 feet long. They are found throughout the world's oceans, from the Arctic to the Antarctic, and occupy a wide range of habitats, including deep offshore waters, coastal areas, and rivers.

Beaked Whale Clickable
By NOAA Photo Library -, Public Domain
Beluga Whale Clickable
Photo by Yuan Yue on Unsplash
Common Bottlenose Dolphin Clickable
© slowmotiongli - Stock.Adobe.Com
Common Dolphin Clickable
Photo by NOAA on Unsplash
Narwhal Clickable
© dottedyeti - Stock.Adobe.Com
Orca Whale Clickable
Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash
© Jan Zoetekouw - Stock.Adobe.Com
Spinner Dolphin Clickable
By Alexander Vasenin - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
Sperm Whale and Baby Clickable
By Gabriel Barathieu -, CC BY-SA 2.0,

Toothed whales vary greatly in size and appearance depending on the species. For example, orcas (also known as killer whales) can reach up to 9 meters (30 feet) in length and weigh up to 6 tons, while the common dolphin can reach up to 2.5 meters (8 feet) in length and weigh up to 200 kg (440 lbs). They all have a streamlined body shape that helps them swim quickly and efficiently. 

They have a dorsal fin that varies in size and shape depending on the species, which helps them maintain stability while swimming. They have a thick layer of blubber that helps them stay warm in the cold ocean water.

Toothed whales are found in various oceanic habitats around the world, depending on the species. They can be found in cold and warm waters, from the poles to the equator. Some species, like the sperm whale, prefer deep waters, while others, like dolphins, are often found in coastal areas.

Toothed whales are carnivorous and their diet varies depending on the species. For example, orcas eat fish, squid, and marine mammals, while sperm whales eat mostly squid. Common dolphins eat fish and squid.

Toothed whales vary in behavior depending on the species. For example, orcas are highly social animals and live in tight-knit matrilineal pods, while sperm whales are solitary animals. They are known to communicate with one another through vocalizations, such as clicks and whistles, as well as through body language. 

They are known to be playful animals and are often seen riding the waves and swimming alongside boats.

Toothed whales belong to different families depending on the species. For example, orcas belong to the family Delphinidae, sperm whales belong to the family Physeteridae, and dolphins belong to the family Delphinidae. 

They are all considered marine mammals and are warm-blooded, air-breathing mammals that give birth to live young.

Toothed whales are listed as vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered, depending on the species. The main threats to their survival are hunting, pollution, climate change, and bycatch in fishing gear. 

Conservation efforts are in place to protect them, such as hunting bans and marine protected areas. Additionally, international agreements have been put in place to regulate trade in toothed whale parts.