Orcas have a distinct color pattern—black back and sides, with white patches on the belly and behind their eye. Males are larger than females and can reach up to 31ft (9.5m) in length. Females reach lengths of up to 28ft (8.5m). In males, the dorsal fin can be as much as twice the size of that seen in females. Additionally, the dorsal fin in females is more curved. Both sexes have a large, rounded pectoral fins (Sessine 2000).
Orcas are social predators and hunt in groups known as pods. They feed on fish, squid, birds, seals and whales. Orcas also use the pods to give structure to their breeding behavior. Each pod contains one breeding male and several breeding females as well as a number of younger individuals of both sexes. Pod size can vary between about four and forty individuals. Larger pods tend to be more stable (Sessine 2000).
Throughout most areas of their range, orcas breed in spring and summer. Their gestation period lasts about 12 months and young are born when they are about 2m in length (Sessine 2000).
- Body Length:
- Tail Length:
- Shoulder Height:
- Diet: fish, squid, birds, seals, whales
- Breeding Season:
- Age at Sexual Maturity:
- Number of Offspring:
- Average Lifespan:
Where to See:
- Burnie D, Wilson DE. 2001. Animal. London: Dorling Kindersley. 624 p.
- Sessine S. 2000. Orcinus orca, Animal Diversity Web. June 14, 2007.