Orca

Orcinus orca

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  • Orca | A book of whales London, J. Murray; c1900 Photo: Jim Pfeiffenberger, NPS
  • Orca | A book of whales London, J. Murray; c1900 Photo: Jim Pfeiffenberger, NPS
  • Orca | A book of whales London, J. Murray; c1900 Photo: Jim Pfeiffenberger, NPS
  • Orca | A book of whales London, J. Murray; c1900 Photo: Jim Pfeiffenberger, NPS
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Orca Photo Gallery

Basic Information

Other names

Killer Whale

Order

Cetacea

Family

Delphinidae

Size

Orcas are generally between 24 and 33 feet in length.

Lifespan

up to 90 years

Weight

Orca (Orcinus orca) facts, habitat, diet, range, killer whale pictures and more to help you learn to identify the beutiful marine mammal.

Diet

Carnivore

Breeding

Female Orcas reach sexual maturity from six to ten years, but rarely breed before 15. Males reach sexual maturity around 15 years of age, but rarely breed before 21. Males breed with females from other pods, there by eliminating the possibility of inbreeding. Females birth a single calf every 6 to ten years and stop producing around 40 years of age.

Range

Oceans Worldwide

Number of Offspring

1 calf

Observation Tips

Head to Kenai Fjords National Park in the summer time for a great chance to observe a Orca (Killer Whale) in the wild.

What does the Orca look like?

Orcas or Killer Whales are a sleek black and white. They are shiny black on the dorsal side and a clean white on the underside. They have white spots above the eyes and a gray spot behind the dorsal fin. They can be identified individually by the differences in dorsal fins and saddle patches.

Orca Habitat

Oceans

Orca Facts

Orcas, or Killer Whales are not whales at all! Rather the largest dolphins in the world and one of the most feared and powerful predators in the world. They hunt in family groups called pods of up to 40 members. They can be likened to wolf packs of the sea. They regularly feast on seals, sea lions and even whales. Their 40 plus razor sharp four-inch teeth easily tear the flesh and kill unsuspecting prey. Cooperation is truly astonishing in their deadly pods. Killer Whales are known to ram ice to knock off prey for other members of the pod to kill or even temporarily beach themselves to snatch a seal. Biologists consider them an "Apex Predator," meaning they don't have any natural predators. Their communication is extremely complex and is still being unraveled by scientists. They are found in every ocean around the world. Their dorsal fin can be six feet high on adult males. Females breed every three to five years in the wild and birth a calf that is eight feet long and can weigh four hundred pounds. Killer Whales are considered extremely intelligent and thus very trainable. Just look at Sea World. That said, Orcas have killed trainers.

See also