Orca Killer Whale

Orca killer whale is one of the most famous whales.

                      "Killer Whales Swimming"
Killer Whale, Swimming
Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to
Orcas are beautiful animals! They are black on top, white on the bottom which is  actually a form of camoflage.When looking down at them from the top, their dark color helps them blend in with the water. And when you you look up at them from the bottom, their light color helps them blend in with the sky. Many fish have this same camoflage. They also have white patches behind their eyes. and a distictive, large dorsal fin.  They also each have a unique grey marking behind the dorsal fin, called the "saddle patch" which is used to tell the animals apart.
Orcas are one of the largest of the dolphin family. Males can grow 27 feet in length and can weigh up to 8 tons! They also have dorsal fins that grow as high as 6 feet! Females are smaller. They grow up to 23 feet and can weigh 6 tons. Their dorsal fins only grow to 2 feet and are more curved.
Orcas live in matrilineal families centered around elder females. One or more matrilines may form a pod. Pods that share vocalizations are called a clan and clans that travel or socialize together are a community.


Orca's brains are very large. They are four times the size of a human brain. They weigh 15-18 pounds, second only to the sperm whale. They are highly intelligent and social animals. They even show some characteristics similar to humans such as:
  • They live in family groups
  • They have distinctive language dialects that vary between groups
  • They protect each other
  • They mourn over the loss of a family member
  • They babysit for each other
  • They share food
  • They play together and
  • The mothers adopt orphaned members within their family

They also have some special talents that we dont posess, such as echolocation. The are very adept at using this ability to locate their food. They are able to tell the size, shape and distance of their prey.

They won the nickname "Killer Whale" because the transients and offshore Orcas eat other mammals, however, they all show incredible awareness, curiosity and gentleness toward people. In fact, there has never been a recorded case of an Orca harming a human in the wild.

Ironically, Orcas have no natural predators except for humans. Aquarium capture, whaling, pollution, the reduction of food supply, injuries from boat propellers, collisions with ships, noise pollution and sonar testing have really taken a toll on the Orca population.

They have a wide distribution from tropical to polar waters although they prefer colder waters and are more predominant in the Pacific Basin and there are many Orca cultures found in every ocean.

Although the groups look very similar, there are some definite differences


Orcas are also my favorite whale!
I just returned from a trip to the San Juan Islands here in Washington state. It was awesome! I had the priviledge of observing the "K"pod as they were feeding on salmon and traveling up the west side of San Juan Island!



Custom Search


What's New

Whale News!

About Us

About Using Content

You Are Secure!

[?] Subscribe To This Site

follow us in feedly
Add to My Yahoo!
Add to My MSN
Subscribe with Bloglines

Bookmark and Share