Killer Whales

Killer whales

Image Credit: Flickr User liamq, via CC

Killer whales, as their popular name suggests are ultimate killers. These whales have nobody to hunt them down which means that they are at the top of the food chain. How comforting it must be for an animal to enjoy that privilege :)

Do you know what such predators are called? They are called the Apex predators.

Killer whales are also extremely commonly known as Orca which derives from Latin word ‘Orcinus’ meaning ‘kingdom of the dead’. However, all this scary talk shouldn’t unsettle you. They hardly attack humans. Their favorite food is fishes or sea mammals like sea lions, seals and walruses. You will be particularly surprised to know that these mean killing machines are more closely related to dolphins than to whales. They were earlier toothed whales and also the largest of the dolphins.

Killer whales are highly social, just like humans. They like to stay in groups with their families. Since their lifespan is about 90 years, as many as four generations travel together at a time. These creatures produce three different kinds of sounds – clicks, whistles and pulsed calls to interact with each other. With the help of these three sounds, the entire pod interacts to distinguish preys, track them and trap them! They are often known as wolves of the sea as they hunt like a wolf pack. They also use these sounds for orientation and other friendly communication. So what if they don’t have a language? With second-heaviest brains amongst marine mammals, they got to be smart ! 😉

Orca whales are tough species. They do equally well in frigid waters of Arctic and Antarctic as they do in tropical seas. Talking about looks, these whales have a white chest and sides, black back, and a white patch behind and above the eye.

Just like fingerprints are unique and distinguish humans from each other, a killer whale can be uniquely identified from  its scratches, and cuts on the dorsal fin and pattern of white or grey on the saddle patch.

Killer whale in aquarium

Image Credit: Flickr User tammylo, via CC

These very special creatures are sometimes captured and trained by humans to perform at sea aquariums around the world. This is particularly sad for these creatures who love to live with their families their entire life. A killer whale, named Lolita, was captured more than 40 years Ago, has been performing at Miami Aquarium ever since. Lolita is believed to have a strong memory of her life and her family in her former natural habitat. Isn’t it sad to keep someone away from their family? Imagine yourself being captured and kept away from your family. Heartbreaking huh? :(

 

2 comments

  1. Oh that was so sad for Lolita the killer whale!i hope it never happens to any other animal in the future!amazing article anyway!

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