We have researched some of the most interesting orca facts for kids so that you get to know all about killer whale. Killer Whale (Orcinus Orca) is also known as ‘Orca’. Orcas or killer whales are toothed whales and found in almost all marine habitats. Out of 35 species of dolphin family, killer whale is the largest member. Killer whales are highly sociable and hunt in pods (group name) of 40 individuals, which is why they are also known as ‘wolves of the sea’. Let us discuss killer whale facts.
Killer Whale Facts for Kids
The orca’s ancestors came into being around 11 million years ago. Orca is the top predator and one of the fastest marine mammals that can sail at a speed of 34.7 mph.
It has a robust black-and-white body. There are prominent white patches above its eyes. Its calf is yellowish-orange in color but the shade disappears and turns into white as it grows up. The orcas of Antarctic have grayish-white backs.
A male killer whale is up to 32 feet long while females can be as long as 28 feet. Male orcas can have weight of 22,000 pounds while females weigh up to 16,500 pounds. Males have large triangle-shaped dorsal fin of 5.9 feet long.
How Long Do Killer Whales Live? Killer whales have a lifespan range of 50 to 100 years. Males normally live for up to 30 years but can live as long as 60 years. Likewise, female orcas can live for about 50 to 100 years. However in captivity, orca has shorter lifespan and can live up to 25 years.
Female orcas reach maturity at the age of 10 years while males mature at 15 years of age. A female killer whale gives birth to a calf after every 3 to 10 years. Almost half of all calves die during the first seven months of their birth. The mother nourishes its calf for 12 months.
Where Do Killer Whales Live? Orcas are found in all of the world’s oceans, from equator to poles. However, they usually prefer colder waters. They have been documented quite frequently off the coasts of New Zealand, Iceland, the Valdes Peninsula, Norway and the Crozet islands. High densities of orca are found off Norwegian coast in northeast Atlantic; off the Gulf of Alaska and Aleutian Islands in north Pacific; off British Columbia and Washington off eastern Pacific; and Faroe Island and Iceland in north Atlantic.
What Do Killer Whales Eat? Orcas like to feed on marine mammals like sea turtles, sea lions, seabirds, sharks, fish, rays and cephalopods like octopus and squid.
Some of the threats to killer whales include ship collisions, oil spills and entrapment in fishing gear.