Aquatic Predator – The Killer Orca

Posted in Wildlife A-Z | October 19, 2010 | Comment Now

Go to a beach, you wish to watch the dolphins jump and play and swing around in the shallowness of the waters they belong to. You find them cute and mischievous, don’t you? Most of us have a presumption in mind that dolphins do behave friendly and harmless. Think again. Are you talking about all dolphins? Better don’t; you may be proved wrong by Orcas. The Orcas are the world’s largest dolphins, also called the killer whales. They are the most powerful as predators of the ocean that devour the larger marine creatures and mammals like the other whales, seals, sea lions, etc. They take hold of the seals right off the ice and skid them to end up into their wide orals. Fish, seabirds and squids also serve as diet for the Orcas.

The places where these Orca whales can be frequently located are mostly the cold and coastal waters. But, as a matter of fact, Orcas can be traced right from the poles to the equator. When they plan to hunt, they do it in a large group of 40 – 50 individual whales. In any region or their location, resident and transient Orcas can be found in huge numbers or pods. And this isn’t necessary that all the whale families prey a single type of animal or a group of them. Different killer whale families hunt different animals showing diversity in the methods used to catch each kind of prey. Resident pods of killer whales have a preference for the locale fish, while the transient pods wish to dine on huger mammals of the marine environing. Since, a whole pod of Orcas hunts their prey; they decide on a cooperative mechanism for hunting and also share the meal mutually.

Sharks and whales are supposed to be the most intelligent marine creatures. So do the Orca whales. They communicate secretly with each other using distinct sounds and noises that the members of the same group do recognize, even if they are swirling at a distance quite far from the sender. For the sounds to have a greater impact and good reachability, the Orcas make use of echo mechanism for distant communication. They select echolocations, like the underwater caves, for making sounds that travel through under the water. When this sound collides with a repellant object, it bounces back in the atmosphere and reveals the location from where it originated, thus disclosing the place, size and shape of the Orca.

Though predators, the killer whales portray good and protective parents for their young ones and adolescents. The females often assist a mother while caring for a baby. The population of killer Orca whales rises every 3 – 10 years because of the typical pregnancy behavior of the mammals. Their normal maternity period is 17 months and most mothers do get pregnant at the same time.

The visibility of the killer whales is quite distinctive due to their black and white color in the blue waters. They serve the icons of intelligence among the rest of the trained aquatic mammals and, hence, highjack the attention of the visitors at aquariums. Due to the dangerous predator nature, the killer Orca whales are not hunted by humans in large numbers.

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