What do Orcas eat? A Complete Guide 2022


What do Orcas eat? A Complete Guide 2022

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The most notable member of the dolphin family is the orca whale. Another name for orcas is “killer whales.” The black and white coloring of these animals makes them simple to identify. They are gregarious, intelligent beings that dwell in pods of up to 40 individuals. What do orcas consume, then? Later, we’ll talk about it more.

Because orcas are top predators and omnivores, they are at the top of the food chain and are unaffected by natural predators. All of the world’s oceans contain these creatures, but they favor the cold. Orcas hunt in packs, stunning and killing prey with their distinctive “tail-slapping” maneuver. The orcas enjoy eating fish, squid, and seals among other things.

The magnificent orca whale deserves to be conserved. Due to habitat loss, pollution, and hunting, many creatures are in risk. Supporting conservation initiatives and educating others about these magnificent animals are two ways that we can help orcas.

What Do Orcas Eat?

Since orcas have no natural predators, they are the top predators in the planet and occupy the top position in the food chain. Although they can be found in all oceans, these creatures prefer cold water.

The ocean’s top predators are killer whales. These enormous, sophisticated mammals consume everything from birds to fish! Depending on where they inhabit across the world, killer whale diets are incredibly specialized. However, there are primarily three different subspecies of orcas: resident, transient, and offshore.

Fish is the main food source for resident orcas that dwell in Alaskan and British Columbian seas. Chinook and coho salmon, herring, halibut, rockfish, and mackerel make up their diet. On the other hand, transient orcas are found in all three oceans and feed on marine animals like seals, dolphins, and whales. Offshore orcas, the third species of orca, are found in deep oceans distant from land and feed mostly fish.

All killer whales use echolocation, or sound waves, to assist them discover food, regardless of what they eat. These mammals have a reputation for cooperating to take down enormous prey. For instance, some killer whales would surround a school of fish with a bubble wall in order to herd the fish into a more manageable region.

Orcas hunt in packs, stunning and killing prey with their distinctive “tail-slapping” maneuver. The orcas enjoy eating fish, squid, and seals among other things. The diets of orcas are listed in detail below:


All oceans contain the aquatic mammal known as the orca. They frequently hunt seals while swimming close to shorelines with towed schools at surface level, which is one of their favorite foods! Together, orca pods will generate waves that wash seals off of ice floes and into the water, where the orcas may catch them more readily.


Additionally, orcas consume squid, which they hunt with echolocation. Animals use the mechanism of “echolocation,” in which they make sound waves and then listen for the reflection of those waves off of objects. This aids the animal in figuring out the position, character, and dimensions of an object. Orcas identify squid in the ocean via echolocation, and then they rip the squid apart using their teeth.


These gorgeous animals frequently pursue schools of fish while swimming around them, snatching the delectable prey from the water’s surface with their teeth. This amazing species gets its name from how hearty it is about consuming whatever food sources nature supplies, even if those food sources don’t precisely match their preferences in terms of appearance or taste (or both).


Oceanic mammals known as orcas have been observed hunting seabirds and penguins. They will occasionally swim behind an ice floe to pursue their prey before suddenly emerging to catch it off guard while it is frozen solid.

Sea Otters: 

Sea otters have been known to be consumed by orcas. They will occasionally swim up behind sea otters and seize them with their jaws in order to hunt them.


Large, sluggish marine animals known as dugongs can be found in the shallow waters of the Indian and Western Pacific oceans. Despite being uncommon, orcas have occasionally been observed eating dugongs.


Other cetaceans, including dolphins, porpoises, and whales, have also been known to be eaten by orcas. Sometimes they may herd these animals into tiny groups and then alternately swim through the group to get a meal.


Even moose has been known to be eaten by orcas! In one incident, an orca was seen carrying a dead moose calf in its mouth. The orca then made its way to a location with access to shallower water and paused to consume the moose calf.

Humpback Whale: 

When it comes to eating habits, orcas aren’t scared to buck the trend. One orca was observed swimming toward shallower water while carrying a dead humpback whale calf in its mouth. This allowed them to enter the area more easily than before.

Sea turtles:

In addition to hunting fish, orcas are also known to attack animals like sea turtles. Depending on how far from land they are, they may swim up behind their prey and then seize it with their teeth before dragging it below or letting it go entirely.

Common Scoter: 

The duck known as the Common Scoter lives in the northern hemisphere. These ducks have occasionally been eaten by orcas, however it’s not very common. This implies that, in almost any position throughout this vast area, including portions of the Pacific coast, there will almost always be some type of water nearby.


Orcas frequently pursue herring by circling schools of fish and snatching the fish with their teeth from the water’s surface. In the waters of the northern hemisphere, you can find a species of fish called herring.


In the waters of the northern hemisphere, you can find a species of fish called mackerel. Orcas frequently swim around schools of fish while snagging mackerel with their teeth from below the water’s surface.

You can now see why orcas are renowned for their size, power, adaptability to various surroundings, and voracious appetites! They are among the most fascinating animals in the world because of these qualities.

How Much Do Orcas Eat? 

The big, strong killer whales can weigh up to 8,800 pounds. The enormous killer whale can weigh hundreds of tons, and some have been measured at 20,000 tons! These enormous creatures are reported to consume up to 560 pounds of fish per day, which works out to nearly 10% of their total body weight.

Orcas only need about 2% of their total body weight, depending on how much food they need. Thus, if they only consumed 200 pounds of fish each day, they could conceivably subsist. However, because they are opportunistic feeders, they frequently eat much more than this to take advantage of times when food is plentiful.

Orcas have an extremely high metabolic rate, which is one of the main reasons they require so much food. They have one of the greatest metabolic rates of any animal on Earth. As a result, they expend a lot of energy and need to replenish it frequently.

Due to their frequent swimming, orcas also engage in a lot of physical exertion. They must expend a lot of energy, which must be replenished, to accomplish this. Orcas are also expanding continuously. They keep growing until they are about 30 years old, therefore they need to eat a lot of food to keep up with this growth.

How Do Orcas Hunt for Food? 

Orcas are intelligent creatures that employ a variety of hunting techniques. Herding is one of their most popular techniques. They do this by swimming around a school of fish and then enclosing the school with a wall made of their bodies.

The average fish is nothing like a killer whale. They are extremely intelligent animals that hunt ingeniously to take down prey like salmon or seabirds with high degrees of accuracy while, if necessary, calling out pals! They can travel at speeds of 35 mph and have a considerable brain size for their body.

Orcas will also use their tails to create a wave that stuns the fish and makes them simpler to grab in addition to herding. They also employ a technique known as carousel feeding. The fish get trapped when they swim in a circle and smack the water with their tails to create a wall of water.

Orcas will work together to look for food as well. This is most frequently observed when pursuing huge prey, such as whales. In these situations, they will cooperate to corral the whale into a limited area before attacking it alternately.

As their name implies, killer whales are not primarily solitary hunters. Studies reveal that while orcas typically hunt in big pods of up to 40 individuals, they occasionally hunt alone in groups of as few as seven orcas and as many as 20 dolphins!

Herding, carousel feeding, and cooperative hunting with other orcas are the main ways that orcas hunt. They can all take down different kinds of prey using these practical tactics.

Killer whales are smart and resourceful enough to set traps to catch their prey. Researchers have observed them spitting fish at the surface of the water, waiting for birds to fly by and smell the tasty scent in the hopes that it will draw these predators in for an easy meal!

What Do Orcas Eat Besides Fish? 

What Do Orcas Eat Besides Fish? 

Due to their status as top predators, orcas are at the top of the food chain. They have a great deal of food freedom as a result of this. However, fish makes up a large portion of their nutrition.

Do Orcas Eat Humans? 

There have been a few accounts of orcas murdering humans in attacks, but these incidents are uncommon. These assaults have mostly happened on captive animals. There have only been a few attacks in the wild that have been recorded.

In 1971, one of the most well-known instances of an orca attacking a human took place. Lolita, a captive killer whale, pushed her trainer into the ocean at this point and held her there until she perished.

Another instance occurred in 2010, when an orca by the name of Tillikum killed a trainer at SeaWorld. Tillikum had killed three people in his life before to this one.

It’s vital to keep in mind that orcas rarely attack and kill humans, despite a few claims to the contrary. Orcas are not inherently hostile to people, and they usually only attack when provoked.

What Is The Natural Habitat Of An Orca? 

Oceans around the world are home to orcas. Although they can be found in tropical and subtropical regions as well as cold waters, they normally prefer the latter. Although they can be seen in broad oceans, orcas are frequently spotted close to the shores.

Ordinarily, pods of orcas consist of 10 to 40 animals. These pods can consist of unattached orcas as well as family members, however this is less common.

Orcas are very gregarious animals with a complicated social structure. Matriarchs, who are often the oldest and most seasoned females, are in charge of their pods.

What Competes With Orcas For Food?

Even though orcas are at the top of their food chain, there are other animals who also need to feed. Killer Whales frequently take advantage of this supply overlap when dining on both ends when other animals share similar diets or occupy huge patches together.

Orcas frequently compete with sperm whales, sharks, and other large carnivores for prey. Since all of these creatures are apex predators, they are at the top of the food chain. Because of this, they have to fend off competition from other animals for food.

Orcas occasionally cooperate to pursue enormous prey. In other situations, they will fight for food with other animals.

What Do Orcas Eat In Captivity?

Orcas are fed a diet of fish, squid, and vitamins when in captivity. Their nutrition is strictly controlled to make sure they are receiving all of the required nutrients. In captivity, orcas typically consume 50 to 100 pounds of food each day. Depending on the size and level of activity of the orca, this amount of food may change.

Wrapping Up:

Wrapping Up:

Additionally, read:

What Foods Eat Manatees? In Their Diet, 6 Foods!

What Consume Earwigs? An exhaustive manual!

What Consume Tarantulas? Twelve Items for Their Diet!

What Consume Raccoons? Nine Foods They Enjoy

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Why are killer whales now called orcas?

What then are orcas? Another name for a killer whale is an orca. It derives from the scientific name of the whale, Orcinus orca. Some people argue that “killer whale” sounds too nasty and instead prefer to use the term “orca.”

What kills killer whales?

The killer whale is an apex predator and is not known to have any natural predators when it comes to predator/prey relationships. Except for people, parasites, and illnesses, which can seriously harm a killer whale’s health.

Are orcas aggressive to humans?

Orca whales are unlikely to attack humans out of aggression or antagonism due to their intellect and social nature. In truth, orca whales have frequently rescued individuals who were in peril. One such event involved a group of orcas that assisted a diver in escaping a shark attack.

Are orcas friendly to humans?

The whales appear to comprehend humans and are willing to collaborate and form relationships. In fact, aquatic parks are the only places where orcas have reportedly attacked humans and murdered trainers. Many experts believe that these attacks are simply the result of play getting out of control and are not malevolent.

Why are orcas called killer whales?

Some species of killer whales hunt on other whales, hence the common moniker. When they attacked larger cetaceans, sailors who observed the incidents used to refer to them as “whale killers.” The name was gradually changed to “killer whale” over time.


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Sarah Green

Wildlife and Nature Fan & Author