Killer Whale

Bianca Ramirez Period 8 5/16/16

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Habitat

Did you know that a Killer Whale is also known as an Orca? Orcas are toothed whales. Those type of animals prefer deep, dark water rather than the shallow waters. Their habitats are in coastal waters. They are often found in open oceans. They prefer cooler temperatures rather than warm, humid places.
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Movement

Killer whales can do cool tricks to help them out. They spyhop, lobtail, breach and log. These cool tricks help them in life. In a spyhop, the whale points its head straight up out of the water. Then it sinks -but without much of a splash. In a lobtail, the whale points its head straight down into the water and raises its flukes into the air and waves the back and forth a few times. Then, with a loud woosh, the animal slaps its flukes on the surface on the water. (Killer Whales and Other Toothed Whales, 30-31) Logging is when a whale lies still at the surface of the water, resting, with its tail hanging down. While floating motionless, part of the head, the dorsal fin or parts of the back are exposed at the surface. (What is a Whale?) Breaching is when the whale jumps out of the water. They normally do this just to play.

Body Covering

Killer Whales are massive. Their bodies are mainly black with distinctive white patches. (Orca, Orcinus Orca, Killer Whale) They have flukes to help them swim. They use their blowhole to breathe when they get up to the air at the top of the water. Fully developed Orca's are normally 27-33 feet long. If an Orca's Dorsal Fin is tall and wide, then it is a male. If the Orca's Dorsal fin is slanted and skinnier, then it is a female. Their Dorsal Fins are can normally grow to 4 feet tall. All Killer Whales have a white patch underneath their eyes. They have white underbellies.
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Diet

Killer whales are often called "Wolves of the Sea". Their diet contains of sea turtles, seals, fish, sharks, and other species of whales. These animals often hunt in packs. While other populations prey mostly on marine mammals, the southern resident killer whales of Puget Sound subsist largely on Chinook salmon. (Natural History) Killer Whales have roughly around 46-50 teeth on this toothed whale.

Reproduction

Female Orca's reach sexual maturity around age 15 and males reach sexual maturity around age 14. They are able to have one baby every 3-5 years. Calves are normally 6-7 feet long when born. They weigh more than 400 pounds! (Orcas, Orcinus Orca, Killer Whale) They breed mainly in the winter. The calves can normally swim 30 minutes after birth. Babies feed from their mothers breasts.
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Adaptations

Killer whales use vocalizations through echolocation clicks. When hunting for prey, they use whistles. To communicate from long distances, they use pulsed calls. Orcas are distinctively colored. (Killer Whale Biology Fast Facts) Males can normally mate with females, even if they are already pregnant! These animals are VERY fast! The fastest record of a Killer Whale is a male timed at 34.5 mph.
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Other Info

  • live in pods (groups) of 6-40 whales (Orcas, Orcinus Orca, Killer Whale)
  • gestation period: 9-18 months
  • Life span; Male: 50-60 yrs Female: 90 yrs
  • Toothed whales
  • Marine mammals
  • Twins extremely rare (Orcas, Orcinus Orca, Killer Whale)
  • Swim 30 mph
  • 1 Enemy: Humans
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Citations