By David Cox

Sperm whales are amazing in so many ways.  They are very powerful and feed at depths on squid that can be as large as they are. Yet, they appear so docile, trusting, and friendly around divers.

In fact, the only way to get near them is by freediving. This is because they tend to flee the noises generated by scuba equipment as well as subs and robots.

Sperm whales are also extremely loud. They are known to be the loudest animal on the planet.   Divers described their sounds to be flesh penetrating.

Diving With Sperm Whales

A sperm whale’s clicks are powerful enough for them to communicate with other sperm whales thousands of miles away. They are also powerful enough to easily blow out a diver’s eardrums or vibrate a diver to death.

In fact, as explained in the video below, divers have been known to report the side effects of these powerful clicks. The include partial paralysis as well as general body heating.

Watch the clip below. James Nestor explains provides more details as well as a video demonstration of these powerful clicks.

“Sperm Whales Clicking You Inside Out — James Nestor at The Interval”- YouTube video by Long Now Foundation

While normal human speech takes place between 60 and 65 decibels (dB), sperm whale clicks, described as such because we hear them as “tak-tak-tak”, can reach as high as 235dB. In contrast, a loud rock concert is around 115dB and the sound of a jet engine is roughly 140dB. Quite simply, sperm whales are the loudest animals on the planet.

Such is the power of their clicks that whales can comfortably transmit information to others from hundreds of miles away, and even across vast oceans. A sound of 180dB is enough to cause drastic cell death in your ears, but the most powerful sperm whale clicks will not merely deafen you: they can vibrate the fragile human body to pieces.

Read more here on bbc.com



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