What Does Orca Whales Eat?

what does orca whales eat

What Does Orca Whales Eat?

What do the Orca Whales eat? Surprisingly, not a lot scientists have been able to discover about what does orca eat. The Orca is the largest of the killer whales. They can reach lengths of over 14 feet. These massive killer whales can sometimes be heard off the California Coast, though they are not seen very often due to their extreme size and their migratory patterns.

Well, it seems that the orca whales out of the San Diego- Lancaster system only prey on smaller, faster-swimming prey like herring, sardines, mackerel, and anchove. But in another research made by the Pacific Northwest National Marine Fisheries Service, whales were found feasting on large stone cod and hulking salmon. This was noted because the stonecod and hulked salmon were caught and measured over one hundred and fifty pounds in weight. So, what does orca eat? Recent studies have suggested that these killer whales prefer smaller fish that are of larger size.

Well, there is one species of orca whale that feeds on the flesh of other killer whales. This species is known as an Old Tom. This orca eats blue whales and has been known to feed on the carcass for days after the death of the blue whale. The meat from this Old Tom is so fatty it can easily be used as a bait.

Another interesting fact about what does orca eat is the fact that some transient orca whales have been found feasting on humpback whales. Although it has been speculated that these killer whales may prey on other killer whales, there is no proof to support such theories. Some residents of the region where these Orcas have been spotted feasting have even noticed the presence of humpback whales but were unsure if they were hungry. A study done in June of 2009 was able to document the feeding habits of the Orca. They found the whales eating the liver, brains and other internal organs, including the eyeball, from a great distance away.

One of the most recent discoveries of what does orca eat was made from the meat and blubber of a thirty one year old female orca. The animal was observed feasting on an Island in March of 2004. During the discovery, the marine biologists noted sharpened teeth and the stomach of the orca appeared to be full. Due to the lack of tissue for the stomach and teeth, the animal was unable to swallow a piece of food. The stomach, however, contained bile which is the source of the creature’s daily Balaenoptera diet.

What does orcas eat is still being researched, but some speculate that the creatures feed on large fish, small animals, squid, small calves and any other organic material they can find. It is thought that the Orcas may travel up the west coast of Alaska to the Bering Sea to feast on the abundant marine life. Whales are thought to be a part of the food chain in this region. However, there is no direct evidence as to what types of foods the whales feed on. It would also be interesting to know what type of lifestyle they lead since the lifestyle of the Killer Whales is completely different from the others.