Whale vs Squid: Who Wins And Comparative Analysis


We frequently think of terrestrial creatures like lions, elephants, or even dogs when discussing animal fighting. However, marine animals are also prone to squabbles. One such encounter could be between a whale and a squid.

Although it might sound very unusual, a whale and a giant squid may indulge in a fight deep in the heart of the marine world. These two animals are vastly different from each other in every common respect. A whale is a vertebrate and giant mammal, while a squid is a cephalopod, an invertebrate closely related to the octopus. 

Nonetheless, their huge disparities should not lead you to believe that they will never meet paths. And we can classify their battle as one of the deep’s most strange and exciting battles.

Whale vs Squid
Image Credit: Lesser Flying Squid from Wikimedia
Image Credit: A humpback whale from Pxhere

This article has been written primarily to shed light on the fighting element of whales and squids and what will happen if one of them decides to beat the other black and blue? Who will emerge victoriously? Let’s have a look.

Whale vs. Squid: General Information

Before comparing and contrasting a whale and a squid, let’s review some basic information about these two animals. Then, look at the table below to learn more.

Categories WhaleSquid
FamilyBalaenopteridae Balaenidae  Cetotheriidae Eschrichtiidae Monodontidae Physeteridae Kogiidae ZiphiidaeOegopsina
PhylumChordataMollusca
Size2.6 meters to 29.9 meters60 cm to 43 feet
Weight298 lb to 210 short tonsUp to 600 lbs
HabitatAll major oceansThe twilight zones of oceans- from 1,000 to 2,000 feet
DietFish, cephalopods, crustaceans, bivalveskrill, and planktonMostly fish and crustaceans. They can be cannibalistic as well.
Hunting skillsSome of them filer feed, while others use echolocation to locate their food to suck and swallow it as a whole. Uses tentacles to catch the prey, latch on them.
Lifespan (ave)20- 100 years, but varies among species. Around 5 years 

This is a list of information about whales and squids in a tabular format. We’ll go over these tabular facts in detail in the sections following to understand more about these two creatures.

Is a squid an octopus?

We’ve all heard of squids, perhaps as a food item. And we often use squids and octopuses interchangeably. But are both these creatures the same? Or there is more than what meets the eyes.

Squids and octopuses are not the same creatures. However, we can call them cousins because they are closely related and belong to the group Cephalopoda. Both these deep ocean creatures are marine mollusks with soft bodies. Some of the characteristics that both squids and octopuses share include:

  • No vertebrates
  • Symmetrical bodies
  • A large head
  • Tentacles 
DifferencesSquidsOctopuses
DietFish, cephalopods, crustaceans, bivalveskrill, and planktonMainly crustaceans
HabitatThe twilight zones of oceans- from 1,000 to 2,000 feetSeafloor, crevices, mainly in  temperate zones
LookTriangular head
Two fins at the top of their mantle
Pen- a rigid backbone like structure 
Hooks and suckers
Arms and tentacles 
Circular pupils
Mantle
Rectangular pupils
Rounded head
Eight arms
ReproductionLays eggs Lay eggs 
Lifespan Up to 5 years
Most male squids die soon after mating.
1 to 3 years
Most male octopuses die soon after mating.
Social behavior SolitaryLive independently or in school 

Whale vs. Squid: Size

Whales and squids are different creatures, and their size perhaps creates a striking difference between them. Let’s explore more.

A whale can grow between 2.6 and 29.9 meters long, while a little squid can be 60 cm long, and a big squid can be 43 ft long. That being said, whales are enormous creatures that can weigh up to 210 short tonnes. On the other hand, squids are smaller than whales and can weigh up to only 600 pounds.

Verdict: A whale will get the upper hand in a fight due to its enormous size and weight.

Whale vs. Squid: Look

Image Credit: Todarodes pacificus (CC BY-SA 3.0) from Wikimedia

Whenever we think of whales and squids, two different body structures come into our minds. While one has the appearance of more of a fish, the other somewhat looks softer and more octopus-like.

Whales have a big head that accounts for over one-third of their whole body length. Additionally, they have torpedo-shaped bodies with quasi necks, flippers, internal ears, and a massive tail fin. On the other hand, Squids are invertebrates with a flattened head and mantle. They also have a mouth, eight limbs, two tentacles, and a pair of enormous eyes.

It’s worth noting that whales and squids of different species have varied appearances. That said, squids’ tentacles and suckers aid them in their hunting efforts.

Verdict: Whales are enormous, but a (giant) squid will take advantage of its tentacles and suckers to give a tough fight. 

Whale vs. Squid: Teeth

Both whales and squids are carnivorous. Hence, it is common for them to have teeth. However, there are vast differences between them in this context.

Whales are not all toothed. Baleen whales, for example, are filter feeders and have baleen instead of teeth to suck in krill, plankton, and small fish. On the other hand, Toothed whales have teeth that can range from 40 to over 240 in number. On the other hand, Squids have razor-sharp teeth on both jaws and a beak and tongue.

Baleen whales frequently suck their prey, whereas toothed whales chew and swallow their prey. On the other hand, Squids bite their meal into smaller parts, before consuming it, with their beak and teeth.

Verdict: A giant squid will have the advantage of beach, teeth, and sucker to hurt a whale. 

Whale vs. Squid: Diet

Image Credit: Brown squid from Pxfuel

Whales and squids vary in size vastly; as a result, their diet also varies, especially in terms of quantity. 

Baleen whales eat kill, plankton, and small fish and are filter feeders. On the other hand, Toothed whales eat fish, cephalopods, crabs, bivalves, and other sea creatures. Fish, shrimp, and other squids are the main food sources for squids. Squids are known for their cannibalism.

It’s important to remember that whales eat more than squids because of their gigantic size. For instance, blue whales can consume between 10 and 20 tonnes of food every day. That said, whales need to ingest 20 to 50 million calories each day in terms of calories. 

Cephalopods are also a type of prey that whales eat. As a result, squids might easily be killed by whales in a fight.

Verdict: Whales can easily swallow squids in a fight.

Whale vs. Squid: Predators

Image Credit: A whale tail from Pxhere

Do whales and squids have predators? Let’s analyze.

There are no natural marine predators for larger whales except for orcas that hunt young or smaller whales. Other than orcas, they are preyed upon by terrestrial and pagophilic carnivores, like polar bears. On the other hand, squids are eaten by larger whales, sleeper sharks and preyed upon by humans. These creatures are a valuable food source used in a variety of cuisines.

Here, it is interesting to note that a sperm whale can consume 700-800 squids n a day.

Verdict: A whale will win in this respect. 

Would a whale and a squid indulge in a fight?

Both whales and squids are strong creatures, and it is not uncommon that they will cross each other’s paths. However, what is the probability that they will indulge in a fight?

Given that squids are on whales’ menus, the possibilities of whales preying on squids are considerable. In such a situation, a battle is unavoidable.

Whale vs. Squid: Who would win?

Since squids are whales’ food, there will be fights during the time of hunting. However, what is most interesting is to analyze who will win over whom. 

Whales are enormous and feed on squids; thus, they will undoubtedly win the battle. However, (large) squids can put up a good battle against whales. These creatures can readily put up a gallant struggle against considerably bulkier whales thanks to their tentacles and suckers. The scars that are frequently found on the latter demonstrate this.

Giant squids use their suction cups to attach themselves to the whales’ bodies, particularly around their heads, to injure them. On the other hand, whales win the fight due to their enormous size, weight, and swallowing strength.

Summary

So that brings our comparative study of whales and squids to a close. Whales are gentle giants, yet their sheer size and weight help them triumph against their prey when hunting. Whales aren’t as violent as sharks, but that doesn’t mean they’re all calm. On the contrary, they have great hunting skills and instincts that enable them to outsmart most aquatic species.

Atrayee

I am Atrayee, I have extreme passion for the Animal Kingdom and I have written a large number of articles for animal behaviors. I am an Animal Lover by nature and own two Cats.
Exploring new things through learning and unlearning is something that intrigues me a lot. I spend my free time with my husband and two cats. I must say I get to learn a lot of wise things from them! You can catch me on LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/atrayee-samaddar-06886567/

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