Facts about Killer Whales, Killer whale scientific name is orcinus orca. The Killer Whale are also referred to as the "Orca" or "Orca whales". The Killer Whale belong to the family of oceanic dolphins that have teeth. In most cases people prefer to call them "Orca" rather than killer whales because they are more related to the family of dolphins compared to whales. At times the Killer Whale are referred to as blackfish but not commonly used.
Killer whales are found in all oceans and are known to be social animals. In fact there are some that are considered to be groups of matrilineal that are very stable. Their hunting skills are unique and sophisticated.
The Killer Whale are believed to be the largest members in the dolphin family. The Killer Whale length and weight differs according to sexes. Male killer whales are 20 – 26 ft (6.09 to 7.92 meters) long weighing up to 6 tons whereas females are 16 to 23 ft (4.87 to 7.01 meters) long and weigh from 3 to 4 tons. There has been a record of a male killer whale that weighed around 10 tons with a body length of 28 feet (8.53 meters). The calves are born big too. At birth calves weigh around 400lb (181.44 kg) with a body length of 7.9ft (2.4 meters). This proves how big these whales are.
Due to their large size, killer whales are known to have strength that enables them to be very fast and in fact the fastest marine mammals. The Killer Whale can roughly reach speeds of 35 MP/H (56 km/h).
The Killer whales pectoral fins resemble paddles. They are large and rounded and males have fins that are larger than those of the females. As usual that of the males it is bigger than the females. A 1.8m male killer whale has double size of a female dorsal fin. Again, theirs are triangular and tall compared to the females sort and curve.
The Killer Whale males have longer jaws and the females have larger occipital crest. Around their genitals, both sexes have white and black skin.
The Killer Whale reproductive history is a bit interesting. Males sexually mature at the age of 15 but cannot produce until they are 21 years of age. The female Killer Whales mature at the age of 15 years where they undergo a polyestrous cycle of between three and fifteen months.
When breeding season strikes the male Killer Whale visit other ponds to avoid inbreeding. Gestation period takes around 15 to 18 months and a female Killer Whale gives birth to only one calf in five years. The time of birth is not specified but believed to happen at any time of the year preferably during winter periods.
It has been reported that high mortality cases of the calves is experienced during the first seven months where a quarter of calves die. Weaning is done from twelve to two years of age and both the parents take the responsibility of taking care of the young one.
On average the Killer Whale live up to 50 years in the wild though there was a killer whale reported to have lived for more than a hundred years. As the Killer Whale solder their head becomes shorter and this is considered to be a unique trait among all cetaceans.
Killer whales don’t have any natural predators and they feed on mammals, sea turtles, and fish among others.