Cetaceans in the South-West coast of Tenerife

The southern coast of Tenerife is a privileged place for watching whales in the wild as there are permanent pods of dolphins in the surrounding waters year round.. Tenerife has become the top European destination in terms of the number of people that have seen whales in the wild.

We can find up to 21 different species in Tenerife´s waters; from the colossal blue whale to the feared killer whale.

Pilot whales and bottlenose dolphins have settled off the south west coast of Tenerife and have become permanent inhabitants: the food supply, which is abundant, the tranquil waters, the good climate and quality of crystal-clear waters , have created a paradise and ideal setting for theses marine mammals.

Did you know…?
The south west coast of Tenerife is the largest breeding area of this species in Europe. 

(Globicephala macrorinchus)

Also known as pilot whales, this species is part of the oceanic dolphin family, and they are odontocete; adult males can exceed 5 metres in length and can weigh between  1 and 2 tonnes.

They are easily identifiable: dorsal fin has a wide base and is set forward on the whale´s back, curved towards the tail. The bulbous head is globe-shaped head and ends in a very slight beak. The colour is very dark, nearly black. This species is the most frequently sighted during whale watching, they are very sociable, with a strong sense of family or groups.

Did  you know…?   Its scientific “Globicephala” refers to its globe-shaped head.

BOTTLENOSE DOLPHINS (Tursiops truncatus)

In Tenerife, it is a resident species as we can find them quite easily throughout the year at a short distance from the coast. The average size of the adult males is 2.7 metres, whereas adult females can measure up to 2.5 metres. Large and robust, bottlenose dolphins can live for more than 30 years and weigh over 500 kg. They live in groups of up to 10-30 members, with males separated from the females and calves. They are generally dark grey on the back end present lighter shades of grey fading to white on the lower jaw and belly.

(Delphinus delphis)

In Tenerife it is possible to see this type of dolphin throughout the year, but mostly in the winter season. Their behaviour among boats is active and playful, s they enjoy bow-riding boats to surf and leap.

Weight: 80-130kg. Size: up to 2.5 metres.

Did you know…? 
They are the fastest swimmers among cetaceans, being able to swim at a speed of nearly  45km/h

SPERM WHALE  (Physeter macrocephalus)

It is the largest of toothed cetaceans and can be easily mistaken for a Great Whale as it is similar in size. Highlights of its anatomy are its gigantic head, dark knobbly skin and a small hump, similar to a dorsal fin. It feeds on giant squid found 2.000 metres below sea level.

Weight: 15-60 tonnes. Size: 11-8 metres.

Did you know…? 
It can have up to 50 teeth.