Sperm Whales Catching Some Zzzs Floating Suspended In Animation

 If one considers how enormous an adult sperm whale can grow (about 40 feet long), then this makes the image even more spectacular. An award-winning Swiss photographer by the name of Franco Banfi was free diving last January near an island located off the coast of Dominica. He was at a depth of about 65 feet when he was blown away by a sight of six of them; a group of sperm whales were sleeping.

The bizarre thing is the manner in which these huge creatures catch their zzzs, reports LiveScience. Sperm whales sleep standing up with the help of their tails, so that makes the very long mammal look gigantic even in a place as vast as the sea. Add six of them, and it's quite impressive and intimidating to witness.

Oceanographers have learned that when sperm whales are napping in the tail-standing position, the entire snoozefest lasts between 10 and 15 minutes at a time. Even more incredible is the silence with which they sleep; they do not breathe or move at all as they doze.The naps help them recharge their batteries, so to speak. Scientists have discovered that these amazing mammals also exhibit the same rapid eye movement that humans use when dreaming.

Banfi became an underwater photography expert who documented the lives of creatures living under the sea. In recent interviews, he explained that whales are not the easiest sea creatures to capture in photos because of their size. Strobe lights are frequently used in underwater photography for dark depths, but in the case of whales, having them naturally lit by the sun is the best method for a great photo.

You have to also possess pinpoint accuracy and speed when photographing because these huge, elusive mammals move around a lot, and you don't have the luxury of time in trying to achieve the ultimate shot. Banfi decided to free dive to a depth of around 49 feet and stay down there about one minute to photograph the sextet of sperm whales catching their zzzs. Being down there without a breathing apparatus is extremely challenging, so he comes up to the surface and breathes three times. Then he goes down again to capture more photos before the situation changes. It is believed that sperm whales do not require much sleep during a 24 hour day; they only nap 7% of the time.


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