Killer whales com­bine in­tel­li­gence and team­work to catch oth­er­wise elu­sive prey

Or­cas use tac­ti­cal in­ge­nu­ity to en­sure that no ma­rine an­i­mal is safe from their ad­vance

World of Animals - - How Do An­i­mals Wage War? -

Killer whales are apex preda­tors and some of the most dan­ger­ous an­i­mals in the sea. Th­ese mighty cetaceans are pow­er­ful enough to se­cure most of their meals alone, but when the sit­u­a­tion calls for it they’ll team up to take down prey.

Seals can present a prob­lem for or­cas, hop­ping onto sea ice to get away from their ocean-bound preda­tors. To com­bat the seal’s es­cape strat­egy the whales have learned to work to­gether, cre­at­ing large waves that wash their prey off the ice and into their reach.

In or­der to cre­ate this ter­ri­fy­ing tidal wave pods of or­cas charge to­wards the float­ing ice, div­ing down at the last minute to cre­ate a swell that knocks the seal into the wa­ter.

This be­hav­iour is unique to or­cas in icy re­gions – dif­fer­ent tac­tics are adopted by groups of killer whales in warmer cli­mates, sug­gest­ing that spe­cific group hunt­ing strate­gies have been passed down through gen­er­a­tions of orca fam­i­lies.

Weigh­ing up to 6tn and reach­ing 9.7m (31.8ft) in length, killer whales are able to gen­er­ate in­cred­i­bly pow­er­ful waves when hunt­ing

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