Captive killer whales in captivity are docile, usually alive in a variety of conditions and ready to be trained again. In some cases these whales will have been used for entertainment or for a source of meat due to their popularity as a show horse. In other cases they are used as nursing or rehabilitation units for premature infants. For whatever purpose these killer whales were put in captivity they are extremely dangerous and should never be handled by the unlicensed or inexperienced. Killer whales face very different problems when in the wild and being handled by untrained hands poses even greater danger.
The most dangerous killer whales in captivity are the Southern Right Whales. These are the largest of the bunch and are generally found off the Cape Horn in South Africa. The whales spend most of the year at the surface of the ocean but at times will venture down deeper into the waters as well. There they prey on smaller and weaker sperm whales, as well as on birds. These killer whales in captivity fight with other whales regularly and are aggressive to the point of being dangerous to other whales.
The smallest killer whale in the world is the Tahiti’s Killer. The life span of this whale can only be calculated at five years. This is because their habit of travelling at great speeds means they do not reach the age of two. Killer whales are big creatures with large muscles and they use this to propel them through the water faster. If they were not able to do this their life span would decrease and eventually be unable to travel at all.
The Southern Right and Humpback Killer whales are slightly smaller than the aforementioned whales. Their life spans are not known accurately but some researchers believe that they are only slightly younger than two. This difference in age means that these killer whales in captivity need to be cared for much differently from their wild counterparts. Like humans, they need plenty of space to move around freely. Killer whales in captivity will have a pen where they sleep at night and a couple of fish tanks to swim around in at day time. They also need to be fed regularly with specially prepared krill pellets.
As well as providing these vital requirements, killer whales in captivity will also be put through a process of psychological stimulation in order to help them to cope with their new environment. This is called stress reduction. By providing killer whales with constant stimulation, they will be able to adjust to their new environment much more quickly and effectively. This is essential if you want to see your new pet in its most successful condition.
In the wild, killer whales travel in large pods, with one or more females and their young. In captivity, they will be kept in groups of one to four. The mother helps to rear them and takes care of the young. One female will take one to three years old babies. As well as giving the newborn calves nursing milk, they are also cared for by the mothers and watched over by the older whales.