Killer whales are the only whale to prey on other warm-blooded animals. Like wolves, they are pack hunters and will even attack a lame blue whale.


Food and Hunting

Co-operation is the key to the killer whale's success in hunting. It is a highly intelligent animal, that makes its kills with the help of every member of its pod. All kills are shared between pod members.

Orcas use echolocation to find their prey. They send out a series of calls into the water. These will bounce off anything that blocks their path - such as a shoal of fish or a seal - and the whales are able to detect these 'echoes' and use them to find their prey. Once prey have been located, the orcas drive them from deep water towards the shore, as in shallow water it is much more difficult to escape.

Orcas also rise upright above the water to scan the area around them for prey. This technique is called 'scan-hopping' It is particularly useful for looking for larger prey on the surface. If a large whale is targeted, then the whole pod joins in the attack. Some try to seize the tail, which immobilises the prey, whilst others attack from all directions. In colder waters, orcas may tip small ice floes in order to catch any seals that may be basking on them. They are capable of tossing prey weighing up to 300kg into the air.

Read More: White adult killer whale spotted for the first time

Related Resources