Mary Anning9th May 2021
How I became a Clinical Psychologist15th May 2021
Orcas are ocean mammals that are part of the dolphin family.
Although they live in the sea, they are mammals that need to come to the surface to breathe.
The name orca comes from Latin and is possibly a reference to the shape of a barrel being similar to the orca’s body. The name ‘killer whale’ comes from sailors watching them hunt huge whales. They called them whale killers, which at some point got swapped around to killer whales.
Orcas can be found all over the world, in almost every ocean from the poles to the Caribbean. They seem to thrive in all temperatures. They can’t be found in the Baltic or Black Seas, but these are very isolated and difficult to get to.
Behaviour and food
Orcas are very social animals and travel around in pods with a mother leading the group. These are some of the most stable and constant groups of any animal.
There are no natural predators of orcas, they are at the top of the food chain. The different types of orca eat different foods. Some eat fish, some eat birds and mammals such as seals or whales. They hunt as a group and share the food.
Orcas make some strange noises, mostly clicks and whistles. They rely on sound a lot for knowing where things are. They use echolocation, which means they send out a sound and wait for it to echo and bounce back. The time it takes and what it sounds like tells them how far away something is.
It is very difficult to track and count orcas because they are everywhere. Some localised species or groups have been declared endangered, but we do not know enough to make a decision about the entire species.