Orca

Animal Facts

  • Scientific Name

    Orcinus orca

  • Animal Type

    Marine mammals

  • Diet

    other whales, dolphins, seals and sea lions, penguins other seabirds, sea turtles and fishes (especially herring and salmon)

  • Size

    males up to 31 feet (9.5 m) and 10 tons (10,000 kg); females up to 28 feet (8.5 m) and 7-8 tons (7,000 kg)

  • Relatives

    dolphins; Order: Cetacea; Family: Delphinidae

  • Habitat

    Open Waters

  • Range

    coastal oceans worldwide but most common in Arctic and Antarctic waters

Natural History

Orcas live in tight-knit family groups, or pods, of two to 30 individuals. With squeals and moans, pod members keep in touch. They'll protect one another from danger and come to the aid of an ailing or injured companion. The pod moves from place to place as food sources change with the seasons.


Conservation

Orcas have been killed in whaling operations worldwide, but there is no fishery directed specifically at this species. Although human impact on the ocean is growing, so is the knowledge that we depend on healthy seas. Working together, people can discover solutions to pollution, overfishing, and other threats to the oceans.


Cool Facts

Hunting together like a pack of wolves, a pod of orcas can surround a school of salmon or even overwhelm a larger whale.


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