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Killer whales (orca) are massive aquatic mammals and also members of the dolphin family. Also though this creatures might resemble other gentle giants in the sea, the killer whale lives up to its name. They room apex predators the live in every ocean roughly the world. Because they are at the optimal of the food chain, it’s just fair come ask, what perform killer whales eat?

We’re walking to take a closer look in ~ the foods items that killer whales prefer, exactly how they hunt, and how they resolve captivity and competition.

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Killer whales eat fish, squid, seals, sea birds, and also more.

What foodstuffs Do Killer Whales Eat?

Killer whales eat fish, maritime mammals, and also cephalopods. The killer whale is a carnivore, for this reason it just eats the meat from other creatures. Fortunately, the ocean has a bounty of prey. Because the killer whale is thought about an apex predator, countless creatures in the ocean are top top the orca’s menu.

The foodstuffs that killer whales eat include:

Common ScoterPigeon guillemotHerringMackerel

It is vital to keep in mind that orcas live in a vast range around the world, and several species of killer whales exist. Several of them could subsist greatly on seals while others, prefer resident killer whales, will mainly eat fish.

Nevertheless, killer whales space not really picky once it comes to their food. They will certainly feed on many foods to acquire the sustenance lock need, and also they need a most it!

How lot Do Killer Whales Eat?

Killer whales have to eat thousands of pounds the food every day.

Killer whales room very big mammals that have the right to weigh anywhere in between 6,600 to 8,800 pounds on average. Bigger killer whales can weigh up to 12,000 pounds, v the biggest weighing over 20,000 pounds.

They frequently reach 20 feet in length and also longer orcas deserve to be 32 feet long. These mammals require a tremendous amount of power to store themselves relocating through the ocean waters.

On average, a killer whale will eat in between 100 and 300 pounds of food every day. That amount deserve to drop in details conditions, such as when orcas are organized in captivity. They require less energy for foraging in that case, so your food requirements are not as high.

How carry out Killer Whales Hunt for Food?

The killer whale’s prey needs to issue about more than simply their size and speed, capable of getting to bursts of 35 mph. Killer whales are highly intelligent creatures the hunt in very an innovative ways, consisting of calling for part help.

Although the big size of whales can lead one to think that they would have to hunt alone to find food, that’s not the case with killer whales. Killer whales will regularly hunt together a pod. Studies have revealed that part killer whales hunt in pods with as couple of as 7 members, if other huge pods will reach size of 40 killer whales.

The dimension of the pod ensures the they have the right to track under food, surround them, and also then relocate in because that the kill. A usual example that killer whales using teamwork to for sure they obtain a meal is as soon as they encounter colleges of fish. The orcas will creep up on the school from plenty of directions, cutting turn off their opportunities of escape.

Eventually, the fish will be successfully grouped up and guided in the direction of the surface of the water. Once they space tightly packed, the whales will slam them through their huge tails, stunning or death the fish outright. Then, the whales will pick them off while others store herding the fish.

Another exciting facet that killer whales’ hunting behavior is the they room smart enough to lay traps for various other creatures. Researchers have witnessed orcas spitting fish near the surface of the water, waiting for birds to it is in enticed by the scent, and also then eating both.

Needless to say, as soon as you placed together size, strength, speed, and also smarts, you gain one incredibly qualified hunter.

What perform Killer Whales Eat in Captivity?

A killer whale in bondage has a various diet than a wild orca.

In captivity, killer whales execute not need to hunt for your food, it’s ceded to them. In some cases, orcas are given food because that completing details tricks. Their diet is far different in bondage than in the ocean and also is focused on optimizing your health and longevity. Also, it’s no exactly feasible to source the diverse meals orcas have actually in the wild.

Killer whales being retained in bondage will generally eat about 1% to 3.5% of your body load in the adhering to foods:


These foods are comparable to what some killer whales would eat in the wild. Moreover, every meal is tested because that its nutritional value family member to the needs of the whale.

What Competes through Killer Whales because that Food?

The killer whale might be at the peak of the food chain, however it’s not the just carnivore swim in the waters v a hunger to satisfy. The overlap in food gives happens once other carnivores re-superstructure the same diet or accounting the exact same area in big numbers.

Here is a perform of the most frequent rivals for killer whales’ food:

Sea lionsPilot whalesOther killer whales

This list must not be supplied to insinuate that any of the creatures will kill an orca and take that food. There is simply an overlap in between their desired meals. Because that instance, sea lions and seals might feast top top the salmon the killer whales must survive, however they’ll one of two people flee or be consumed if a pod of hungry killer whales mirrors up.

Killer whales space top-tier predators that use their intelligence and size to hunt down a range of creatures. Sadly, they space not law well as a species. Some varieties of killer whales are considered endangered from human beings hunting them in the past, pollution, and the loss of their preferred foods.

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The future can see several of those smaller types disappearing entirely, but an ext studies are required to investigate and overcome the obstacles to your survival.