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Marine Mammal  Orcas

Orcas - Photo  Copyright 2003 W.D.C.S. ( Photo: WDCS

UK Safari Tip:
Get help identifying Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises with this fact-filled book from -  click here

Latin name: Orcinus Orca

Size: Males approx 9 metres, females approx 5 metres.

Distribution: Mainly seen off the Irish and Scottish coasts, especially off the Western Isles of Lewis and Harris. They have also been seen off the Farne Islands, Northumberland.

Months seen: All year round.

Food: Fish, seabirds, seals and other whales.

Special features: The orca has a black back and a white underside. There is also a small white patch behind each eye. The dorsal fin of the male can be over 150cms tall.

Another common name for them is 'killer whales'. They are skilful predators although stories of them being dangerous to humans are often exaggerated.

A mother and calf spy hopping - Click for a closer viewThey sometimes hunt in groups, known as pods, or on their own using their eyesight and also by sound using their special kind of sonar.

They are capable of emitting short pulses of ultrasonic sound which bouce off objects in their environment. This enables them to build up a picture of their surroundings when visibility is poor.

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UK Safari Marine Mammal Section
UK Safari Marine Wildlife Section

  2006 G. Bradley. All Rights Reserved