Orca

Introduction

The undisputed apex predator of the worlds oceans, floating around in the coldest unhospitable parts. Dragons of the cold dark deep. These are the hunters that scare sharks, and that realy makes you want to stay on your ship.


Naming

Orcas are named after the Roman God of the underworld and/or death Orcus. Also known as Killer whale which is a corruption of the descriptive name Killer of Whales. Scientifically categorized as Orcinus Orca. Archaically also called; Sword whale after the shape of their chest flippers and dorsal fin


Orca hunting a seal
Orca hunting a seal by Callan Carpenter via Wikimedia Commons

Specifications

Orcas are aquatic mammals. Toothed whales belonging to the dolphin family. With a distinguishing black and white colour scheme. Fully grown orcas measure between 5 and 8 meters, and weigh 4 to 7 tonnes. Depending on the subspecies.

Spread

Orcas live in all oceans all over the world. But they seem to prefer the colder climates around the Arctic and Antarctica, and predominantly live between the 50th and 70th parallels North and South.


Orca tattoo

As can be read in Sailors Tattoos, the tattoo of an orca means the sailor has sailed the Antarctic Ocean or even has been to Antarctica itself.

Race around the Antarctic

The whole crew was on deck of the Red Sunrise, the whole crew was on the portside at the bulwark even. Everybody had forgotten the predicament they where in for a moment.

As there was a pod of dozens upon dozens of orcas jumping the waves next to the ship. The sight was marvelous.

The crew didn't feel the cold winds of the Antarctic Ocean, they forgot the hard fight they had against the elements rounding Cape Horn.

They just looked at this beautifull black and white beasts, playing in the waves, so in their element, not bothered by the cold as they where. Eventhough they where playing there was no mistaken what they where, dragons of the deep, intellegent instinct hunters optimezed for their envirement.

Read this story here:
XXIII Cold battle
Prose | May 26, 2021
Race around the Antarctic
Military Conflict | May 1, 2021

A fight among ice and pinguins.

Food

As the killer of whales they are the undisputed top of the food chain in the ocean. Hunting in pack ranging from 2 to 90 individuals in size they have no problem taking down the biggest prey possible. Besides whale they eat all kinds of fish, seabirds, squid and seals sea lions and moose. Curiously it avoids walruses.

Orcas are known to go to great efforts to catch seals, as the prey tends to hide on beaches or ice floes. Orcas are capable of beaching themselves to snatch seals thinking who are safe from the beach. Also, they are capable of flipping ice floes so that their friend in the pack can catch the little seal sized snack as it slides into its mouth.

But during the breeding season of seals, orcas do not hunt them. There have been instances of orcas protecting groups of seals, and orcas pushing baby seals who have wondered off back on a beach. Orcas know that less baby seals means fewer seals to eat. In a sense they farm the seal colony.

It is regularly been observed that orcas actively teach their young hunting technique. Every pod of orcas has their own specific hunting technique. When an orca from one group might end up with another group, they will teach that adult too. They are the most civilised and intelligent animals on earth.

Also they can change their pitch and tune of their calls to be able to communicate and hunt together with dolphins.

Orcas attempting to flip an ice floe to catch a seal.

Orcas attempting to flip an ice floe to catch a seal. by Callan Carpenter via Wikimedia Commons

Attacks on boats

In recent times the number of reported attacks from orcas on yachts has gone up. If there is actually more attacks or more reports, with records made by smartphones, is still up for debate. It is believed that these attacks happen by groups of young males, out on finding a new family. And they bump into the yachts out of curiosity. Other people blame the overfishing of the world's seas. And some even think that the feeding to lure the mammals by whale watchers has led to the orcas seeking out boats and expecting a treat, getting annoyed when this is withheld.

Orcas with young have been known to chase and ram boats that come to close, even flipping dingies and canoos with their tales.

None of the attacks report the Killer whales biting humans, they seem content to crash their boats.




Comments

Author's Notes

In response to: Summer Camp 2021, prompt 12: A plant or animal that lives in inhospitable region.


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Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
19 Jul, 2021 21:19

Nice! I didn't know they protect the seals during breeding season and the baby seals! Gotta keep the snacks alive like enough for them to get bigger :p

19 Jul, 2021 21:26

I didn't know either! I found that awesome bit of information today while searching the web. yeah it's awesome.

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20 Jul, 2021 13:08

Always a bit unsettling for me to find one animal "farming" another. Do they really not attack humans? Or just in this situation, they aren't hunting?

20 Jul, 2021 15:10

No, they aren't hunting humans as a food source. I dunno what happens if you go poke one in the wild.

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