Killer Whales: Creatures of the Open Waters

Updated: Feb 26


Support the Guardian “Killer whales explain the mystery of the menopause” - https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/jan/15/killer-whales-explain-meaning-of-the-menopause

What are Killer Whales?

Killer Whales are toothed mammals belonging to the oceanic dolphin family. They are known by various names; Orcas, Orcinus Orca, and even Shamu. These creatures often perform at aquariums and amusement parks such as Sea World.


Diet

Killer whales are carnivores. Killer whales eat animals such as fish, penguins, seals, sea lions, squid and seabirds.

Killer whales often hunt their prey in groups. When they hunt for their prey, they often set traps, encircling the prey.









Chinook Observer “Hunting with Orcas”

https://www.chinookobserver.com/life/hunting-with-orcas-southern-resident-killer-whales-tell-one-salmon-from-another-with-sound/article_e611f47e-b273-11ea-ae90-b3ee7760fc99.html


Behavior

Killer whales are very social mammals. They live in pods, consisting of 20+ members. Killer whales communicate using various clicks and whistles.

Just like humans there are different cultures within the killer whale species. Within the different cultures, there is a unique set of calls and whistles.

These amazing creatures also have quite a long lifespan. Females have a lifespan of 100 years and males have a lifespan of 50-60 years.









AAAS “Study Suggests surprising reason killer whales go through menopause”

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/01/study-suggests-surprising-reason-killer-whales-go-through-menopause


History

The scientific name for Killer Whales is Orcinus Orca, meaning “of the netherworld”. This is due to their predatory behavior.

The earliest fossil found for the Killer Whale is from 5.3 to 2.6 million years ago!









Render Hub “Killer Whale Orca Skeleton 3d Model”

www.renderhub.com/3d-horse/killer-whale-orca-skeleton


Habitat and Physical Characteristics

Killer whales have rounded pectoral fins.

Males are about 10 meters long and females are 8.5 meters. Even though the males are larger, they live shorter lives.

Killer Whales prefer cooler temperatures and polar regions. They usually inhabit coastal areas.









CBS News “Killer Whale Population declining in Puget Sound

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/killer-whale-orca-population-declining-in-puget-sound/


Wikipedia “Killer Whales”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killer_whale