5 horrible killer whale attacks | Live Science
Killer whales are the largest member of the dolphin family, and possibly the most terrifying – at least if you’re a seal, sea lion or whale. These toothy predators hunt in packs, much like elegant sea wolves, and they are able to take down prey larger than themselves.
Killer whales, also called killer whales (Orcinus orca), rarely bothers humans. But sometimes people are lucky enough to observe the muscles and brains of these creatures as they hunt. Here are five tales of killer whales among the waves.
Kill a whale
In March 2021, whale watchers off the Australian coast witnessed a brutal and systematic hunt in which 70 orcas killed and consumed a blue whale.
The whale, a juvenile blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) or a pygmy blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus brevicauda), was twice the length of the largest killer whales, but it didn’t stand a chance. Over the hours, several groups of orcas harassed and jostled the whale. The orcs worked together to create chaotic waves with their bodies, then surrounded the blue whale, biting its jaw and mouth.
The blue whale fought valiantly, according to marine biologist Kristy Brown of Naturaliste Charters in Western Australia. But he was overpowered.
“A blood bubble rose to the surface like a bursting red balloon,” Brown wrote. All that remained was to share the booty.
Killer whales sometimes seem to play with their food, much like curious cats. But in September 2018, Nicolás Dávalos, photographer and marine biology student in Ecuador, was diving near the The Galapagos Islands when he filmed something that had never been seen before.
A group of killer whales were torment sea turtles, spinning the unfortunate creatures around, grabbing them and swimming with them “like a dog with a bone,” Dávalos said.
“Killer whales will sometimes play with potential prey for half an hour or more and then move around, leaving the victim unharmed,” said Robert Pitman, marine ecologist at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. National Geographic. “Other times they hunt their prey and kill it but don’t eat it. They’re like cats that way – can’t resist the urge I guess.”
Sometimes the sea keeps its secrets. In May 2021, a sailor near Vancouver Island in western Canada captured footage of a group of killer whales harassing a mother humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) and her calf. What happened to the calf next is guessable.
Thirteen killer whales slammed their bodies into the water alongside the calf and mother whale, possibly in an attempt to separate the calf from its mother and kill it. The calf overwhelmed during the attack and was not seen again, raising questions as to whether the orcas were successful. Although the calf was not seen again after the attack, there was no sign of orcas feeding on a carcass either, according to Vancouver Island Whale Watch.
A sexually motivated crime
Another baby near Vancouver Island was unlucky. In 2018, scientists reported a strange case of killer whale infanticide between Vancouver Island and Malcolm Island.
It is not known how the altercation began, but when researchers arrived, a 32-year-old adult male killer whale and his mother, around 46, were in pursuit of a family of killer whales, including one new born. The adult male grabbed the newborn in his jaws, repelling the calf’s mother’s attempts to save it. At one point, the adult male’s mother even intervened, preventing the other orc mom from attacking her.
The aggressor orcas kept the cub for three hours, eventually keeping it underwater for so long that it drowned (killer whales usually surface to breathe every five to 10 minutes). Marine biologists at OrcaLab research station, who witnessed the killing, said the male may have been motivated to kill the calf so that its mother would become available for mating. The adult male’s mother may have been his wingman – killer whale mothers, very loyal to their family (and interested in making their genetic line successful), sometimes help their sons in their quest for reproduction, the researchers.
Shark liver for dinner
Same great white sharks are in danger when orcas set their sights on a meal. In May and June 2017, four great white dead (Carcharodon carcharia) ran aground along the Western Cape Province of South Africa. What was particularly strange about this was that they all lacked liver.
Marine biologists blame orcas. Killer whales are known to hunt sharks, and they have been observed eating shark livers (and other viscera) off the coast of California. It is known how killer whales are generally willing to tangle with great whites, but there isn’t much else that could surgically remove the liver of a 13-foot apex predator. long (4 meters).
Originally posted on Live Science