Take a deep breath, gang – because we’re diving to the depths of the ocean with some cool killer whale facts!

Killer whale facts

Fast killer whale facts

Scientific name: Orcinus orca
Family name: Delphinidae
Classification: Mammal
IUCN status: Data deficient
Lifespan (in wild): 50-90 years
Weight: Males up to 9,000kg. Females up to 5,500kg
Head and body length: Males up to 9.8m. Females up to 8.5m
Top speed: 48km/h
Diet: Carnivore
Habitat: Ocean
Range:

Killer whale facts

Eight tonnes of pure power whacks an ice floe floating in cold Arctic waters. The seal lying on top of the ice doesn’t stand a chance. Knocked into the sea, the seal becomes a meal for one of the ocean’s top predators – the huge killer whale!

Killer whales, also called orcas, hunt everything from fish to walruses – seals, sea lions, penguins, squid, sea turtles, sharks and even other kinds of whales are all on their menu. Depending on the season and where they are, their diet varies – some eat plenty of fish and squid, others feast mostly on seals and penguins. But wherever they are in any of the world’s oceans, average-sized killer whales may eat about 227 kilograms of food a day!

Killer whale facts

These mega marine mammals have many hunting techniques, and bumping seals off ice is just one of them. Often referred to as ‘wolves of the sea’, killer whales live and hunt together in ‘pods’, or family groups, much like a pack of wolves.

Working together as they hunt, groups of killer whales cooperate to herd fish into a compact area so that they’re easier to gobble up. They will also slap their tails onto the water’s surface, causing a wave to wash prey (such as penguins or sea lions) off ice floes and into the water.

Killer whale facts

Sometimes, a pod of whales will join forces to surround a larger animal, such as a blue whale. They chase, bite and wear it down until it becomes weak enough for them to feast on.

Killer whales have around 45 teeth (each around 7.6 centimeters long), which are shaped for ripping and tearing prey. Instead of chewing their food, they take one big gulp – and believe it or not, these brilliant beasts can swallow small seals and sea lions whole! Bigger prey is ripped into chunks before being eaten.

Killer whale facts

Scientists believe the colour pattern of killer whales may help them sneak up on and attack their prey. Their backs are black, and their stomachs are white. Animals looking down on this powerful predator from above, such as a seal on an ice floe, might not see it because the whale’s dark back blends with the water below.

On the other hand, the killer whale’s white underside blends with the light streaming down into the sea from the surface, making it hard to spot from below. Such cool camouflage means prey like fish, penguins and seals are likely to miss the danger heading their way. Crafty, eh?!

Killer whale facts

Credits – Text adapted from feature by Catherine D. Hughes
Photos – Orca breaching, side: Monika Wieland, Shutterstock. Orca breeching, belly: Bspujari, Dreamstime. Group of orcas: Ivkovich, Shutterstock. Orca with head out of water. Tom Middleton, Shutterstock. Others: Getty.
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COMMENTS

  • AWESOME

  • Violet

    How do they hunt??

  • Wales are the best i love wales #1

  • aaliyah

    good

  • RILEY

    # orca

  • this so cool reading this and the killer whales are soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo cool

  • Alec Kirby

    Killer whales are soooooooooooo cool !!!

  • taylor

    they must be hungry imagine eating 227 kilograms of food a day.

  • Cleo

    It's so awesome that u can learn about all the animals

  • sienna

    orca are so cool!

  • TurtlZ

    Killer whales are actually dolphins.

  • Summer

    I❤️Killerwhales

  • Summer

    Killer whales are so awesome ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  • Jacksons

    AWESOME killer whales are so cool to learn about

  • E.N

    Super cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Saia

    Killer whales are cool

  • Super

    Wow it is so cool what killer whales can do.

  • Molly

    I love Ora's so much

  • Holly

    I love killer whales

  • may

    this was so awesome i love it

  • killer whales are a type of dolfin not whales

  • Looby2

    These facts are awesome! despite their names killer whales are actually dolphins!

  • MC

    Thanks for Facts. :)

  • Tomas

    I love killer whales! One of my fav animals! Funny how they're not actually whales,they're dolphins!

  • Epic

    Killer whales are my favourite sea animal

  • Lalitha

    They are awesome

  • Lily

    I Love Whales.There awesome animals

  • LP

    I definetly will like this page. I love animals! Fun Facts: Killer whales are also called 'Ocars'. Killer whales can kill you, thats why they are called 'KILLER' whales.

  • Nazu

    I love killer whales

  • Buster Hicks

    It makes me sad that killer whales eat penguins

  • Solomon

    Cool

  • thebigcheese

    killer whales are my fav animal

  • jeff

    nice

  • Narayan Pillai

    All these sick animals are so cool and who ever posted this thing is cool

  • Tim

    I liked the killer whale facts.

  • levini

    cool facts about killer wales

  • Lydia Colback

    I love diving deeper into the water with all these beautiful creatures

  • jodie

    i love orcas

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