The state of Connecticut certainly takes pride in its abundance of significant state symbols, which have been adopted over the past several years, encompassing a wide range of elements, such as animals, birds and flowers, nicknames, mottos, and more.
Connecticut’s symbols serve to best represent the state’s deep, historical roots, geological makeup, past triumphs, and the incredibly diverse ecosystem that’s embedded within the state.
Amongst the notable symbols of Connecticut, the sperm whale has been the iconic state animal since 1975. The state has a rich whaling history, and Connecticut emerged as the second-largest whaling region in the U.S., behind Massachusetts.
Why is the State Animal of Connecticut the Sperm Whale?
The sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) has been representing Connecticut since 1975, mainly due to the significance that whaling played in shaping the state that we know today.
These extraordinary creatures can grow to lengths of up to 70 feet (21.336 meters), and weigh up to 45 tons! However, it is actually the size of their brain which makes them so impressive – their brain size is truly remarkable, weighing up to 20 pounds, which is larger than any other animal on Earth.
Female sperm whales and their young travel in permanent units, which are called pods, while the larger males go to and from breeding and feeding grounds.
Additionally, sperm whales are some of the deepest divers in the ocean, with the capability of diving 2 miles deep. Also, did you know that sperm whales are found in every single ocean in the world?
Whaling in Connecticut during the 1800s was absolutely giant, with New London, CT being one of the busiest whaling hubs in the entire world during this time. Whaling was massively influential in creating a stable economy for Connecticut.
By 1850, the whaling industry approached its peak, amassing over $1 million worth of whale oil and bones that would pass through the port of New London on an annual basis. On September 24, 1908, Captain James Buddington and his crew took off on the last-ever Connecticut whaling voyage, returning in April 1909.
Nowadays, Connecticut and the rest of the world have a far more different relationship with whales than they did back then. There are serious laws against whaling, and also the sperm whale has been labeled as a vulnerable species.
Final Thoughts on Connecticut’s Animal
Most states will have their symbols showcase a relevant story, that is indicative of the state and its history, and the Constitution State puts its history and what it stands for across very well in its state animal.
This interesting fact about Connecticut and its state animal, coupled with a whole host of others are what makes the state so unique and fascinating to those that live there or are researching the historical events and symbols of the state.