Whale The killer whale Second in the world ranking of the most powerful jaws, just after the crocodile.
Orcas have anywhere form 40 to 56 interlocking teeth – each one around three inches long. They’re conical shaped and used for ripping and tearing, but not for chewing. Orcas eat their food in chunks or entirely whole. Cetaceans are conscious breathers.
They’re at the top of the food chain and have very diverse diets, feasting on fish, penguins, and marine mammals such as seals, sea lions, and even whales, They are known to grab seals right off the ice. They also eat fish, squid, and seabirds.
Orca fun facts
-Orca are in fact dolphin’s
Orcas are very fast, the orcas’ large size and strength make them among the fastest marine mammals. They are able to reach speeds as fast as 30 knots (34mph or 57 kph)!
-Adult Orcas are almost as big as a bus!
It’s hard to see from the water’s surface, but adult orcas are, on average, about as long as a small school bus (19 to 26 feet long) and they can weigh up to six tons. Next time you’re on a bus, imagine yourself taking an orca ride!
-Orcas live in every ocean of world
From the Arabian Sea to the Gulf of Mexico, from the coastal waters of Japan to the Atlantic Ocean, and from the Arctic waters to Antarctica, orcas can be found in every ocean in the world. Their extremely wide range and unpredictable movements make it difficult to know the exact world population. It is thought to be more than 50,000 individuals.
-If you’ve ever heard about the way wolves hunt – in packs, coordinating their attack – then you have an idea of how orcas hunt too. It can be hard to watch orcas hunt, but there is no doubt they are skilled hunters.
-Orcas have a form of culture.
Culture, the idea of passing knowledge and language within a group from generation to generation, is actually done within orca pods. Scientists have proven that each pod (family) has its own unique dialect and that learned behaviours are passed from one pod generation to the other – a unique feature that is currently known to exist with one other species; humans.
-Female Orcas have a similar lifespan to humans.
Statistics show the average life expectancy of orcas in the wild is estimated at about 30 years for males and 50 years for females. However, there was one local resident female orca that is estimated to be 100+ years old! Her name was Granny and she was the matriarch of J-Pod, before her passing in late 2016. Females normally reproduce between the ages of 15 and 40.
-Killer Whale sleep with one eye open.
Little is known about how orcas sleep, however, we know that dolphins and other cetaceans sleep by shutting down one half of the brain while the other stays awake. Unlike humans, orcas need to remember to breathe, even when they are sleeping! So, one half of the brain rests while the other half stays alert to control breathing, consequently keeping one eye open!
-Offchore Orcas eat Sharks,
There is an ecotype of orcas known as “offshore orcas” that can be seen 15 km offshore in the northeast Pacific Ocean. These whales have similar physiology to the Southern Resident Killer Whales, however, scientists have found they eat sharks!
Now that you’ve filled your brain with facts about orcas, it’s time to learn more and come to the museum.
Blue is waiting for you to give him a Pat.