When discussing the top predators in the ocean, many people tend to forget about orcas. However, these incredible marine mammals actually rule the deep water. Here are a few compelling facts about orcas.
Apex Predators That Can’t Smell
Orcas are at the top of the food chain. In fact, they have no natural predators. Even the great white shark is no match for an orca. Razor-sharp teeth shaped for ripping allow orcas to quickly snatch prey out of the ocean. According to scientists, these predatory animals cannot smell. However, an incredible sense of hearing gives orcas a big advantage.
By using a process called echolocation, orcas are able to effectively hunt. They will make sounds and listen to the echoes. This allows an orca to determine exactly how far away an animal is located.
For good reason, ancient sailors referred to orcas as killer whales. However, these violent hunters actually belong to the dolphin family. Researchers are amazed by the supreme intelligence of orcas. They have complex social structures that have yet to be fully understood. Like wolves, orcas are smart enough to coordinate an attack against other sea animals.
They Sleep With One Eye Open
Orcas have very unique sleeping habits. Only half of their brain is allowed to sleep at a time. This means orcas are always conscious. They must breathe in air from the surface about every 10 minutes. At least one eye stays open at all times.
Wild Orcas Don’t Usually Attack People
When in captivity, orcas are far more likely to kill humans. However, they act completely different in their natural environment. There’s even footage of orcas playing with human swimmers in the wild.