Killer whales are more commonly known as orcas. They are among the most powerful predators on the planet even though they are basically just large dolphins. They have sharp, powerful teeth that help them hunt down sea lions, seals, and even whales. They can grab seals right off the ice and are known to also eat squids, seabirds, and fish.
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They usually live in cold, coastal regions but can be found anywhere from the polar region to the equator. They travel in pods and hunt together which makes them a deadly group. The family group can consist of up to 40 individual whales. They can employ a multitude of techniques to kill different animals. The united front helps them become some of the most effective hunting techniques, resembling the deadly pack of wolves.
The killer whales communicate with a variety of different sounds. Every pod has a different set of noises that each member is familiar with. They can recognize these sounds from a large distance as well since they use echolocation techniques to communicate. This technique involves making sounds that travel underwater until they come across some object. These sound waves bounce back to reveal the exact shape, size, and location of the object. This technique is commonly used by radar devices in submarines and ships.
Unlike humans, they do not have an unconscious breathing reflex. This means that they do not continue to breathe automatically while they are asleep. They have to remain conscious even when they are sleeping since they have to actively decide to breathe. These magnificent creatures actively allow only half of their brain to fall asleep to protect themselves from suffocation.
This allows them to continue breathing, but also helps them keep an eye on the environment for any dangers. They close one eye while sleeping. If the right eye is closed, that means the left side of the brain is asleep and vice versa. This sleeping technique is called uni-hemispheric sleep. They swim close to the surface while sleeping in a steady and slow way.
They are also very protective of their young and any adolescent females in the pod help mothers look after the young. They are highly intelligent creatures, but there are still many threats that they face. Toxic waste and pollution, boat traffic, fishing nets and gear, and illegal trade are just some of the problems that orcas face.