Killer Whales

Killer Whale (Orca) : Orcinus orca

Orcas versus Great White Sharks.


The Great Blue Slot Machine is themed on the oceans, and in particular Killer Whales. We take a closer look at these magnificent oceanic creatures.

Killer whales are also known as Orca Whales or Orcas. This magnificent animal is armed with ferocious teeth and it belongs to the oceanic dolphin family.

They are found in all of the world's oceans, and feed on fish, and occasionally other sea mammals. They sit at the top of the food chain, and live in family groups. These creatures are known to employ sophisticated hunting techniques that are passed down through the generations in their cultural groups. New research suggests that Killer Whales may be adversely affected by high frequency ship noise- studies are ongoing.

They are not considered dangerous to humans, but you probably wouldn't want to meet one in a dark alley on the sea bed! They are a popular attraction at marine theme parks around the world.

The largest of the dolphins and one of the ocean's most effective predators, Orcas hunt fish and other sea mammals like seals, sea lions, and whales, Their teeth can reach 10cm long. They are also known to eat squid and even seabirds- an animal right on top of the food chain, in other words.

Killer whales hunt in a family group, known as a pod of up to 40 whales. Some pods stay in the same vicinity, while others are more migratory. They hunt together, rather like packs of dogs. Each pod has it's own call sign, and they use sonar techniques to "see" underwater at great distances, rather like dolphins. Females give birth on a cycle of 3 to 10 years. the gestation period is seventeen months. 

More Facts About Killer Whales
Size

Killer Whales have a long dorsal fin on their backs, and they are coloured black and white (a camouflage technique under the water)- they are very distinctive. Their shape has evolved to be very efficient when swimming through water.

Orcas can weigh over 5 metric tonnes and adult killer whales can reach almost 10 metres in length. 

Babies

Baby killer whales are called calves- they measure around 2 and a half metres long and weigh up to 150kg at birth. Calves are weaned off their mother's milk after about a year. They can live to 100.
Baby orcas have soft, flexible dorsal fins which stiffens with time.