One day, as a seal was bathing
on San Miguel Island, an enormous black and
white mammal threw itself out of the water and took the seal to the depths
of the ocean. It was an Orca, commonly known as the killer whale, one of the
most intelligent marine mammals.
What do Killer Whales look like?
Killer whales are mainly black
with arranged white spots. Every killer
whale has a unique saddle patch pattern and dorsal fin just as eyes and
facial shape are unique to every human being. Killer whales breath through
a small spout on top of their heads called a blowhole. Males have high
straight dorsal fins, weigh 8,000 pounds and grow to be 32 feet long.
Females have short curved dorsal fins, weigh 6,000 pounds and grow to be 28
feet long. Unlike some whales, killer whales are toothed whales. The other
type of whale is a baleen whale.
Where do you find Killer whales?
Killer whales live all over
the world in waters ranging from tropical to
arctic. They are found in all of the world's oceans and most of the seas.
Killer whales are most common in the north but can be seen at all latitudes.
Killer whales live near all North American coastlines. They have no regular
migratory habits but travel all around the world.
What do Killer whales eat and are eaten by?
Killer whales are carnivorous,
which means they eat meat. They feed on a
variety of marine species, including blue whales, penguins, seals, sea
turtles, octopus and squid. Killers whales prefer to eat the young and weak
of these animals. They specialize on prey abundant in their particular
area. Depending on the size of their prey, killer whales hunt individually
or in pods. Although killer whales are much smaller than blue whales, a pod
can easily take down a blue whale. Killer whales have the flexibility to
shift their diet preference in response to the prey abundance. Other than
human beings, killer whales have no natural predators.
Is there any thing interesting about Killer whales?
There are several interesting
facts about killer whales. First, sometimes
people argue about whether killer whales are whales or dolphins. Actually
they are related to both! The killer whale is the largest member of the
dolphin family. Next, killer whales are often trained in captivity just
like Keiko of "Free Willy." Unbelievably, written history has not recorded
the death of a human by a killer whale. Finally, scientists who have
studied wolves, lions and killer whales have learned that all three of these
animals hunt in the same way.
Do Killer whales sleep?
Killer whales do not sleep
like other mammals do. They rest in stretches
of around two hours in tight clusters and move extremely slowly and
methodically. They breath in unison in shallow rising and falling waves.
Sometimes one or two whales on the outside of the cluster may be on watch to
herd other whales away from obstacles. Killer whales usually choose
protected areas to rest. They need to swim all of the time or else they
In conclusion, killer whales
are an important part of our ecosystem. At
this time, they are not an endangered species. Although man is their only
natural predator, the hunting of killer whales should be regulated so they
do not some day become extinct.
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