Up to 23 feet (8.2 m) for females
4 tons (3,620) for females
Orcas are an apex predator, meaning they are at the top of the food chain. Some populations known as “residents” stay in the same general area throughout the year following food sources. These whales typically feed on fish like salmon or herring. Transient, or Bigg’s orcas, tend to feed on larger prey such as seals, sea lions, sharks, or other whales such as gray whales. They are particularly effective hunters, reaching speeds of 30 mph in bursts and hunting in groups using echolocation. Orcas have complex social structures and in some cases are known to spend their entire lives within their family groups.
Not much is known about orca population estimates, however they are vulnerable to pollution and loss of prey as declining fish populations becomes an issue for both the fish-eating orcas and for the orcas that eat other fish-eating mammals.