2 Types of WHALES Found in Georgia (2023)
What types of whales can you see in Georgia?
Whale-watching is one of the most exciting adventures I can think of! These enormous, fascinating creatures have captured the imagination of many nature lovers.
Below, you will find pictures and descriptions of the whales found in Georgia. I’ve also included RANGE MAPS and fun facts about each species.
Although there are many interesting facts about whales, I kept each description brief to cover all the species. So, you may want to consider purchasing the book below if you want more information.
Here are the 2 WHALES in Georgia!
- You might notice some of the animals below are dolphins instead of true whales. I included them here because “whale” is in the name or because most people consider them more whale-like. To see the 10 types of DOLPHINS that live in Georgia, CLICK HERE.
#1. Pygmy Sperm Whale
- Kogia breviceps
- Adults grow to 11.5 feet and weigh 700 to 1,000 pounds.
- Their coloring is dark gray with a patch of white on the belly.
- They have blocky heads and a pointed snout, giving them a shark-like appearance.
Pygmy Sperm Whales are a widespread species throughout the world’s oceans, inhabiting temperate and tropical waters.
This species is cryptic and avoids ships and aircraft, which makes it very difficult to observe them in the wild. Gathering data about their population and behavior is made even more difficult because they like to spend time with other species. Scientists often observe them together with Dwarf Sperm Whales, which makes them very difficult to identify and examine in detail.
Interestingly, Pygmy Sperm Whales also squirt ink at predators. This unique adaptation to evade danger suggests that they were historically preyed upon by larger species. Although it might be hard for us to imagine now, at one time, these large creatures were the “small fish!”
#2. Pygmy Killer Whale
- Feresa attenuata
- Adults grow up to 8.5 feet long and weigh a maximum of 496 pounds.
- Their coloring is very gray to black all over, with a cape over the head and upper back that’s slightly darker than the rest of the body.
- They have small rounded heads and no visible beak.
Pygmy Killer Whales are one of the most elusive whales in Georgia.
They prefer to stay in their pods, which they remain with their entire lives. When they come to the surface to breathe, they’re more likely to form a line and nap rather than engage in showy breaching displays.
This species likes to stay in the deep water outside the continental shelf, in tropical and subtropical water. Because of their affinity for deep water, it’s unlikely to spot them on a whale-watching tour. Even dedicated researchers have trouble observing Pygmy Killer Whales!
Though they avoid humans, they are very social with members of their species and form pods of fifty or more individuals if prey is plentiful. Pygmy Killer Whales eat squid, octopuses, and fish.
As you might imagine, this species becomes very aggressive in captivity, which is understandable given their pelagic lifestyles. They’re known to attack handlers and other dolphin species in captivity.
Do you want to learn about LAND MAMMALS found in Georgia?
Check out this field guide!
26 COMMON Mammals in Georgia! (ID Guide)
Which of these whales have you seen in Georgia?
Let us know in the comments!