The term “killer whale” comes from their original moniker, “whale killers,” which sailors gave them after observing them whale-hunting. The name eventually changed over time. The word “orca” is derived from the Latin species name Orcinus orca, which means “Kingdom of the Dead” in English. 

There is something incredibly alluring about these giants of the water with their strength, elegance, and intrigue! Drone footage caught jaw-dropping footage of a pod of orcas in Mossel Bay, South Africa

In the spring of 2022, a pod of killer whales went on a several-hour-long killing spree. Anything in the path of these creatures was considered up for grabs. Apex predators, or those at the top of the food chain, include killer whales. Like other odontocetes, they consume fish and squid, but they will also hunt down seals, birds, and even whale species that are much larger than themselves. 

Additionally, killer whales are the only species known to feed on great white sharks. The footage you’re about to watch below captures the first evidence that orcas hunt white sharks on the coast of South Africa. 

The weight of an orca’s brain can reach 15 pounds. Language, memory, and emotional ability are all well developed in large brains due to excessive folding or gyrification, which enables orcas to have a sophisticated civilization. These large brains also help them have incredible hunting techniques. 

Animals That Use Sonar
Killer whales are the only species known to feed on great white sharks.

Alexander Baumann/

How Do Killer Whales Hunt?

The killer whale is the most dangerous animal to ply the open oceans, in contrast to the amiable images presented by aquatic theme parks. It has a mouth full of three-inch long, interlocking teeth and can reach top speeds of 30 miles per hour. It can weigh up to 11 tons as well.

I don’t know about you, but this doesn’t sound like an animal that I want to have an interaction with. When pursuing seals, they close ranks and rush the ice floe where seals seek safety, generating a massive wavefront. They dive beneath the surface just before striking the ice, using their tails to give the wave one more boost. The resultant water wall wipes the seal off as it crashes over the ice floe.

The orca has perfected a method for eliminating pointy-toothed snacks we call white sharks. The killer whale propels the shark to the top on a watery vortex by employing its broad tail. It then makes a tiny turn and extends its tail far into the air before bringing it crashing down on the shark’s head. 

Then, the killer whale flips the shark over, placing it into a coma that researchers refer to as “tonic immobility.” Check out the unbelievable video of these ocean giants killing another apex predator below! 

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