Orca (Killer Whale)
Orcinus orca

The orca or "killer whale" can be found in all oceans of the world. Many are found in the Arctic. The orca is a striking sight, all black with a white underbelly and white around the eyes. It has many sharp teeth that can be up to 5 inches long. These help it to catch and eat its prey. The orca feed on fish, seal, sea otters, walrus and sometimes other small whales. Orcas are very strong swimmers. Aided by their large flippers, they can move through the ocean at up to 25 miles per hour.  The orca is quite a social animal. It travels with 5-20 members of its extended family known as its pod. The family has specific calls and even hunts together sometimes. Calves are already eight feet long at birth! Adult males grow to 27 feet and females are usually slightly smaller. You can spot an orca in the water by looking for its large dorsal fin. These fins can be six feet tall. The Tlingit people of Alaska's seacoast create powerful images of the killer whale in their artwork.


Photo © PhotoDisc

Home | Arctic Wildlife | Birds | Mammals | Sea Mammals | Glossary