‘Extremely rare’ white sperm whale sighted near Jamaica

An extremely-rare white sperm whale has been spotted cruising in the waters near Jamaica.

The animal was spotted by Leo van Toly who was travelling onboard a Dutch merchant ship.

In video captured by Mr Toly a flash of white is glimpsed gliding through the swell before the beast disappears below the waves.

The whale gracefully rises to the surface before slipping below the waves.
The whale gracefully rises to the surface before slipping below the waves. (SOS Dolfijn / Leo van Toly)
Only part of the whale was seen so it is unclear if it has albinism or another skin condition.
Only part of the whale was seen so it is unclear if it has albinism or another skin condition, leucism. (SOS Dolfijn / Leo van Toly )

Mr Toly said he’s still pinching himself over the sighting.

The sighting recalls Herman Melville’s famed 1851 book ‘Moby Dick’, in which obsessive captain Ahab seeks revenge on a giant white sperm whale that took his leg.

In reality, only a handful of white whales have been spotted in the wild including the famed Migaloo; an albino humpback whale known to cruise Australia’s east coast.
Migaloo (AAP)
Migaloo the white humpback whale. (AAP)

However, as Mr Toly only partially sighted his white whale it’s unclear whether it has albinism.

Another skin condition called leucism can also cause partial loss of pigmentation in animals.

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Sperm whales are mostly grey can, reach 18 metres in length, and are the largest toothed predator on earth.

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