Orca Whale Information
Information about the Orcinus Orca whale, its life, what it eats, its diet, its appearance, and behavior.
The Orcinus Orcas belongs to the family Delphinidae where it rules as the largest member of the dolphins. They have common and scientific names: The common name is the
killer whate originally called “ Whale killer” by spanish whalers.The scientific name is the Orcinus Orca, and they are also called Grampas.
The Orcinus Orcas are found in all world oceans particularly only in cooler temperature waters. The males can grow up to 32 feet in length, and can weigh 10 tons, and the females can grow up to 27 feet in length and can weigh in at 7 ton. The newborn calves are approximatly 7 feet in length and weigh almost 400 pounds at birth. Field studies suggest that males live to a max of 70-80 years and females live to about 50 years of age.
The appearance of the Orca is very unique, there is a noticable black and white undermarking, and tall dorsal fins reaching 6 feet tall, and are long and tall in males. They reach 3 feet tall , and are shaped like a sickle in females. There is a special saddle shape located near the dorsal fin unique to each animal. This is one way researchers identify specific individuals. There is an average of 24 sharp, conical, and slightly curved teeth that occupy the Orcas mouth.
The Orca diet consists of: salmon, herring, birds, squid, and even other mammals such as seals, dolphins, walrus, penguins, and blue whales. The societies in which Orcas live are called pods and there are up to 50 whales in the pod. Within the pod are even smaller groups called subpods, and still inside the subpods are even lesser units called maternal groups. The Orcas stay with their subpods all their lives and it later becomes their hunting group.
There are a lot of common behaviors for the Orcas such as:
Spyhopping- a tail stand and bringing head out of the water for a 360 degree view of surroundings.
Breeching- leaping out of water and lands with an enormous explosion
Lobtailing- an interesting display showing that the Orca interperets a possibe threat nearby
Slapping- slapping flippers on the water surface.
Beach Rubbing- rubbing body on small smooth pebble on beaches.
Researchers have identified up to 62 seperate sounds produded under water by the Orcas, which consist mainly of high pitches, shrills, and shrieks. Every individual has a dialect language particular to its area or origin.
Orcas can travel 60-100 miles of ocean in a day and they use echolocation for navigation and finding food. They have no natural enemies except their own kind and of course man.