Orcas Aren't Whales and Other Fun Facts

Orcas are more commonly known as Killer Whales and swim the seas. World Orca Day was back in July, but we don't need an excuse to celebrate these beautiful creatures.

September 23, 2020
By: Discovery

Photo By: Rohit kushwaha

Photo By: by wildestanimal

Photo By: Ron Sanford

Photo By: by wildestanimal

Photo By: MarkMalleson


Photo By: Lazareva

Photo By: mtnpirate

A Misnomer

The Orca is actually a member of the dolphin family.

The Biggest!

Orcas are the largest members of the dolphin family.


Orcas eat everything from sharks, to octopus, to low-flying seabirds. Specific pods sometimes stick to one type of food depending on their location in the world.

Need for Speed

Orcas can swim over 30 MPH.

One Eye Open

Orcas don't involuntarily breathe, so one half of their brain is always awake. While the right sleeps, the left sends signals and vice versa.

Type Differentials

Historically, different groups of orcas ate different things depending on their location, this lead to slight genetic differences today-- called Ecotypes.

Familial Accents

Much like humans, Orca elders pass down all of the information that the younger generations need to know--this includes migration, diet, enemies, and even calls and vocalization.


Orcas got their original nickname "Whale Killer," because they would hunt other whale species and the name was swapped over time.

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