Orca: The Whale Called Killer

Killer whale
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Killer whales are the most widely distributed mammals , other than humans, according to Sea World. They live in the oceans and seas surrounding most coastal countries. They adapt very well to any climate. For example, they can live in the warm waters near the equator or the icy waters of the North and South Pole regions. Orcas are more likely to be found at higher latitudes and near the shore, though.

These animals do not stay in one area and have been documented traveling long distances. This is a distance of more than 2, kilometers more than 1, miles. Orcas are very social and live in groups called pods, which usually have up to 40 members, according to National Geographic. There are two different kinds of pods: A resident pod is less aggressive and tends to prefer fish.

World Range & Habitat

Transient pods act much like wolf packs and are much more aggressive. They hunt marine mammals by working together. Orcas are apex predators, at the top of the food chain.

They Are Called 'Killer Whales' for Good Reason

Killer whales feed on sea birds, squid, octopuses, sea turtles, sharks, rays and fish. They also eat most marine mammals, such as seals and dugongs. The only exceptions are river dolphins and manatees, according to the IUCN. Killer whales have also been reported to eat moose, according to Sea World. Orcas use many different techniques to catch prey. Sometimes they beach themselves to catch seals on land, meaning they jump from the water onto land.

Why Are They Called Killer Whales?

Orcas will also work together to catch larger prey or groups of prey such as schools of fish. Killer whales also work together to take care of the young in a pod. Often, young females will help the mothers care for young orcas. A female killer whale will give birth every three to 10 years, to one offspring at a time.

The gestation period usually lasts for around 17 months. A baby orca is called a calf, and they are about 8. Calves nurse for 5 to 10 seconds at a time, several times an hour.

How does WDC help orcas?

Learn about new offers and get more deals by joining our newsletter. Lucy Taylor. Yes go to animalsthatliveonground. If this item isn't available to be reserved nearby, add the item to your basket instead and select 'Deliver to my local shop' at the checkout, to be able to collect it from there at a later date. Herding fish before stunning them with tail strikes is one of many ways in which these predators hunt their prey. We do, too, cole! It sounds like you learned a lot from this Wonder!

This goes on day and night until the calf has mature enough. It is weaned at a year old. Orcas can live from 50 to years. The taxonomy of orcas is:. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOAA notes that recent genetic studies have led many cetacean biologists to hypothesize that multiple species or subspecies of killer whales exist worldwide. Three distinct forms, or ecotypes, of killer whales are recognized: resident, transient or Bigg's and offshore. The ecotypes differ in dietary needs, behavior patterns, social structures and habitat preferences, as well as in genetics, size and shape, according to the NOAA's Office of Protected Resources.

According to the IUCN, the orca's population is unknown, and therefore the organization cannot label the animal's conservation status, though some populations are protected, according to the NOAA. By continuing to browse the site you accept our Cookie Policy, you can change your settings at any time. Not available.

This item has been added to your basket View basket Checkout. Added to basket. Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Portfolio Rosamund Kidman Cox. Patrick Harding.

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