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Killer Whale Facts

The Killer whale, one of the world's deadliest creatures and the world's biggest dolphin, takes several years to learn to be lethal in a battle. The Orca here is breaching in San Juan Islands.

The Killer whale, one of the world's deadliest creatures and the world's the largest of the dolphins, takes several years to learn to be lethal in a battle. The Orca here is breaching in San Juan Islands. (View larger version)

Photograph by iStockPhoto

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  • The killer whale is the world’s biggest dolphin.

  • A large male killer whale can eat up to 220 pounds (100kg) of a food a day, the equivalent of four seal pups or 400 herring.

  • Killer whales will hunt fish, squid, birds, stingrays, sea otters and even other whales.

  • Killer whales have anywhere from 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.

  • They grow to an average of 19 feet (5.8 meters) in length, though specimens exceeding 30 feet (9 meters) and weighing up to 22,000 pounds (10,000 kilograms) have been recorded.

  • Killer whales can swim at speeds of up to 35 miles per hour (56 kilometres per hour).

  • Killer whales can live for an average of 50 to 80 years.

  • The name ‘killer whale’ actually comes from Spanish whale hunters in the 1700s. They called killer whales ‘ killers of whales.’ Eventually this was transposed to killer whale.

  • Killer whales hunt in cooperative family groups (of up to 40 whales) called pods. For this reason they are also known as the “wolves of the seas.”

  • They use their heads and tails to strike prey and knock them out.

  • Killer whales are extremely intelligent, well-organized highly social animals. Their family groups are considered one of the most stable social structures of any of the animal species.

  • Killer whales use echolocation to communicate and hunt, making sounds that travel underwater until they encounter objects, then bounce back, revealing their location, size, and shape. They can even identify species of fish by their echo!

  • In Patagonia, Argentina, killer whales intentionally beach themselves temporarily to hunt seal lion and seal pups.

  • The brain of a killer whale can weigh up to as much as 15 pounds (7 kg). That’s about five times heavier than the average human’s, making it one of the biggest brains on the planet.
5 comments
Shannon Bage
Shannon Bage

why do yall love killer whales they kill little sea lions


Ellery Cheng
Ellery Cheng

Well, they kill them for food. We kill a lot more animals, ya know