WHAT DO KILLER WHALES EAT?
The killer whale - also known as an orca - is the only whale to feed on other warm blooded animals. Old sailor stories have built up an infamous reputation for the killer whale, yet this mammal has never been known to attack a human being in the water.
While mankind is not on the menu, killer whales have a varied diet and will also specialize on certain prey depending on where in the world they inhabit.
The killer whale diet can include fish, squid, seals, sea lions, walruses, birds, sea turtles, otters, penguins, polar bears, reptiles, sharks, octopus and even smaller whales.
Killer whales eat about 500 pounds of food each day. Therefore, up to 60% of their time can be spent to get food.
In some odd cases, even land mammals have been found in the stomach of some Killer whales and some occasions Killer whales have eaten some other killer whales, although this behavior has not been scientifically documented.
An agile and intelligent animal, the killer whale will use several tactics in order to catch its prey, but the secret to the hunting success of killer whales is co-operation within their closely-knit groups, with the catch being shared later. A group of dolphins is more accurately known as a pod.
For example of their hunting technique, when seeking out a shoal of fish, a killer whale will use begin by using echolocation in order to find it. Once found, the fish are herded towards the shore where there is no escape before feasting on their catch. Killer whales are also known to hunt seals using this method.
In open water, the killer whale can often be seen 'spy hopping' which is when they rise upright out of the water in order to look around for prey.
When attacking larger species of whales for food the whole pod joins in for the hunt. Some seize the quarries tail in an attempt to immobilise it, while others attack from any direction.
In colder regions, some small pods are skilled enough to tip over small ice floes using a their combined bow wave in order to catch basking seals that slide off into the water.
However killer whales easily change their eating habits if they move from one place to another, adapting quickly to the available food in the region.
For larger prey, killer whales may not use herding, but they instead use their tail flukes to stun or kill the prey and then tear it with their large and sharp teeth. However, their teeth are not used to chew like us, they use it only to tear their prey and then they swallow it whole.
For related articles click onto the following links:
What do Dolphins Eat?
WHAT DO DOLPHINS EAT?
WHAT DO KILLER WHALES EAT?
WHAT DO POLAR BEARS EAT?
WHERE DO KILLER WHALES LIVE?