Length

up to 32 ft

Weight

up to 16,500 lbs

Population

worldwide estimate of a minimum of 50,000

Distribution

found in every single ocean!

Description

Orcas are a unique species for many reasons. For one, their name. Why do they call killer whales Orcas? This is due to observations of them traveling in groups, hunting and preying on larger whale species. However, Orcas are actually the largest member of the dolphin family! They are distinguished by their sharp black and white coloring. Their bodies are robust with large dorsal fins up to 6 ft tall.

Unlike most creatures, Orcas have to stay conscious while sleeping. This is because they have to actively decide to breathe, otherwise they can suffocate and drown. They keep one eye open at night and use only half their brain when sleeping in order to continue to breathe and look out for any predators that might come their way. They have extremely strong teeth with powerful jaws. Orcas feed on many sea creatures, being: fish, seals, squids, sharks, rays, large whales, and sea birds. Is it safe to swim with Orcas? Definitely not. Despite their name, many still wonder, are killer whales friendly? These are not the dolphins you want to get close to. They are aggressive predators, being capable of easily killing humans and even great white sharks!