Food Chain

What Eats an Orca?

What Eats A Killer Whale? You MUST Be Joking! Photo: Robert Pittman, NOAA
What Eats A Killer Whale? You Must Be Joking! Photo: Robert Pittman, NOAA

What eats an orca? What does an orca eat?

As for the first question . . . NOTHING eats a living, breathing, swimming orca. Size-wise, the orca is the biggest killer in the ocean . . . the apex predator of apex predators. It even occasionally eats some of the other apex predators such as the great white shark. Because orcas can grow to 6 to 8 meters (20 to 26 feet) in length and weigh more than 6 tons, there just is nothing else big enough or ferocious enough to take one of them down.

Of course, when an orca dies, seagulls, fish, and other scavengers are happy to make a meal of it . . . but we’re talking about living orcas here!

As for what orcas eat, that depends on where they live as well as on the feeding habits of the orcas pack in which they were born and grew up. Some pods of orcas feed primarily on fish such as salmon, while others eat pinnipeds, otters, and other furry sea mammals. Still others hunt dolphins, porpoises, and other types of cetaceans—even ones much larger than themselves.

An orca eats whatever it wants!

Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.
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