Orcas, also known as killer whales, are a member of the dolphin family. There are heaps of interesting Orca facts for kids to explore. Out of all the predators in the ocean, they are the largest. Orcas are fascinating mammals that have jet-black backs and white bellies and eye patches. This is a way to differentiate them from other whales. They are most commonly found in the Antarctic and Arctic oceans. They can live in oceans as well as coastal waters.
Facts about Orca Whales for Kids
Kids love orcas because they are gigantic in size and are one of the most powerful creatures of the ocean. Here are a few orca facts that you may not have known about before.
- The black-and-white patterns on orcas are a camouflage that allows them to remain unseen while they hunt for prey.
- They use echolocation while they hunt to locate prey and also use clicks that are extremely high-pitched to stun their prey.
- They are one of the fastest sea mammals due to their strength and huge size. They can travel in speeds of over 35mph!
- A large percentage of orcas live with their mothers throughout their lives.
- They are known as ‘wolves of the sea’ because they hunt in a group or pod.
- They have different hunting techniques and work together using signals for a successful hunt.
- A pod can have 5 to 30 orcas.
- A pod is lead by a female orca.
- Their teeth are used to rip and tear prey, so they do not chew their food.
- They swallow their prey whole.
- Orcas of an average size may eat approximately 500 pounds of food on a daily basis.
- In some cases, a pod of whales chase and wear out larger preys such as blue whales.
- They can communicate with each other and it is believed that each pod has its dialect.
- They have blubber, a fatty tissue, in their body that helps in keeping them warm.
- Male orcas live for about 40 years while the females live for 60 years or so.
- Female orcas’ pregnancy lasts 17 months and they give birth every 3 to 10 years.
- Newborn orcas are fiercely protected.
- Younger females, or cows, in a pod provide protection to calves to help new mother orcas.
- Orcas also provide protection to those who are sick or injured.
Photo Credit: Kim
Orcas are not endangered at present as they are not hunted by humans. However, they face the same dangers that other marine mammals do. These threats include pollution, infringement of habitats and over-hunting of their food sources.
You can do your part in helping orcas by spreading awareness about the awesome abilities they have. They are one of nature’s marvels, which is why spreading awareness and protecting them is vital. Their habitats need to be preserved and protected against the pollution that man has contributed to seas, oceans and other water bodies. There are about 50,000 orcas worldwide and it is imperative that we provide them with a safe environment to help them multiply.
Pictures of Orca Whales
Photo Credit: PutneyPics
Photo Credit: Thomas Habauer
Here is a cool Video of Orcas Chasing a Speed boat.
Facts About Other Whales For Kids
More interesting Orca Facts for Kids