Often referred to as the orca whale or blackfish, the killer whale as a member of the dolphin family is widely known as an apex or super predator at the top of their respective food chain having teeth rather than traditional baleen plates found in most whales allowing them to be fondly referred to as wolves of the sea.
Killer whales are generally found across the vast oceanic regions from the bitterly cold Antarctic to Arctic zones to more tropical seas. In spite of the fact that some independent populations of species have been found to be highly selective in their choice of food, the killer whale conversely has ben observed to display a more tactical diversity in its diet. While many of the species will traditionally feed on existing fish, others will tend to stalk a variety of oceanic mammals including seals, dolphins, walruses and on occasion larger whales.
When hunting, the killer whale has been known to group themselves into phalanxes swimming quickly towards floes of ice containing their prey. During this approach the whales will change their direction before impacting the ice creating a wave to known the prey off the ice and into the water.
Viewed as an exceptionally social member for he dolphin family, the populations of killer whales found today are mainly comprised of family groups based on a close kinship with the mother or other female linage representing one of the most stable genus of any species of animals. When hunting, the killer whale exercises an advanced and highly innovative approach when stalking its prey often displaying selective vocal behaviors indigenous to individual family groups, passed on from one generation to the other in what many marring biologists refer to as culture manifestations.
Although there have been reported incidents of killer whales in captivity injuring and killing their trainers at a number of marine theme parks, the killer whale is traditionally not considered as a direct threat to the existence humans. Scientific studies conducted at a number of universities worldwide have reveled the killer whale as having a strong and almost identical characteristic according to traditionally domestic customs earning them the reputation for being ruthless killers to emotional spirited animals.
Facts about Killer Whales
- The killer whale today is one of the known thirty-five genus of the cetacean family Delphinidae first revealed more than eleven million years ago.
- Today three to five generations of the killer whale are distinguishable enough to be classified as completely different species.
- Of the dolphin family killer whales are recognized as the largest mammals of the group with male species generally ranging from twenty to forty feet in length and weighing more than 6 tonnes. Their females known to be significantly smaller in size are often between sixteen o twenty-six feet long and weighing sometimes up to 4 tonnes. To date the largest killer whale ever recorded was a male weighing over 10 tonnes and of a total length of thirty-two feet.
- Killer whales are known for their excellent eyesight both above and below water coupled with an heightened sense of touch and above normal hearing.
- The killer whale is known for its highly complexed ability to determine the location and characteristics of other animals an objects in their environment by vocalizing a series of clicks and listening to the reflected echoes.
- The average heartbeat of a typical killer whale ranges between forty-five to sixty beats per minute when on the surface of the water, lowering to just about twenty-five beats per minute when fully submerged below the surface.
- Male killer whales living in the wild will often live up to an average of about twenty-nine years with a maximum of fifty to sixty years, while females will typically live for longer periods of fifty years with a maximum of between eighty to ninety years.
- Many of the killer whales found today have found to pray on various species of birds such as gulls, penguins, and cormorants. One particular killer whale located at would the MarineLand themed amusement and animal exhibition park in Ontario, Canada would bring up fish to the surface as bait to attract seagulls which would them be eaten.
- Killer whales are highly active on the water surface often performing a range of gymnastic feats including tail-slapping, breaching and spyhopping.
- Killer whales similar to all members of the cetacean family rely mainly on sound generated below the water surface for feeding, communication and location.
- The killer whale is regarded as having the second heaviest brain compared to all aquatic mammals which allows the species to be effectively trained in captivity in addition to teaching their acquired skills to their family.
Race Rocks Camera 5
User controlled camera 5 in the link below is located on the Race Rocks Jetty west of Victoria in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Their live webcam allows viewers a live broadcast of one of the main routes travelled by a vast number of killer whales as they enter and leave the Pacific Ocean.
The Orca Live Webcam
Founded by whale researcher Dr. Paul Spong, the OrcaLab research facility in northern Vancouver Island, recognized as the hub for Northern Resident killer whales was established for the campaign against killer whales held in captivity. The facility comprises of both audio and video live streaming for viewers. OrcaSound allows users to tune in to live streaming headphones where they are able to hear the Southern Resident orcas core range and the recently relaunched OrcaLab camera allows viewers live daylight footage of the Northern Resident killer whales.
View The Orca Live web cam.
San Diego Orca Webcam
Located at SeaWorld in San Diego, California, the San Diego Orca Webcam operates daily between the hours of 9a.m through to 5:30 pm Pacific Standard Time. Viewers can watch a live stream of the killer whales via this Shamu Cam or replayed footage of the day’s activities at midnight.
View San Diego Orca web cam.