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Orcas vs. Sharks

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A deadly orca

A deadly orca

via Wikipedia

via Wikipedia

A deadly orca

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        When asked the question, what is the ocean’s biggest predator, many would think of the great white shark. Although this could be a true statement,  a recent article has shown that the great white shark is afraid of the killer whale. Killer whales or orcas have been known to prey on sharks.

    Orcas have been known to be eating mako sharks and other shark species. When hunting the sharks, the orca can flip the shark upside down, causing the shark to go into its “tonic immobility.” The shark then is completely paralyzed and cannot fight back. Researchers believe that the orcas have started to learn a little about the shark’s biology.  

    The average male killer whale can reach lengths of 32 feet and 9 tons. Females can reach 23 feet and weigh 4 tons. Orcas usually swim around 3 to 4 miles per hour but can go up to 30 in short bursts. The killer whales usually have 40 to 50 teeth that they use to tear their prey instead of chewing. In the North Pacific, killer whales eat fish such as salmon. The others eat marine mammals. Some orcas around New Zealand have been known to prey on animals such as stingrays and even sharks.

    The killer whales hunt in packs from about 2 to 15. Some packs have been seen to be over 40. The killer whales teach each other techniques for hunting. The mother orcas teach their young to hunt seals.

     The great white shark can reach lengths of over 20 feet and can weigh more than 2.5 tons. The sharks usually swim around their normal speed of 15 miles per hour.  White sharks are considered to be the predatory fish. With teeth about 2.5 inches long, the white shark is one of the top predators of the sea. The white sharks use their teeth to sink their teeth and tear off large chunks of their prey. They feed on fish, small marine animals, and occasionally sea turtles, mollusk, and crustaceans.

  Sharks usually have been seen hunting alone. Sometimes, when eating a carcass, groups of 10 or more. They have been known to attack without being seen. Some hunt close to shore in shallow waters.

 In San Francisco, California in October 1997, two orcas were eating a sea lion. A white shark swam towards the smell of the dead sea lion. The white shark soon switched directions when one of the orcas started towards it. Both disappeared after a splash, and the orca came to the surface with the dead white shark in its mouth.

   Although the great white shark seems to be scarier, the killer whale can hunt in groups. The killer whale is also bigger and faster giving it a huge advantage over the white shark.

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Orcas vs. Sharks