Were they playing, or hungry?

I can’t make up my mind what these orcas (killer whales) were doing a few miles off San Diego when this boat came along.  Were they chasing it in play, or because they were hunting its occupants?

Your guess is as good as mine, I suppose . . . but I’m still glad I wasn’t aboard!



  1. It's swimming upside down. I didn't know they'd do that.
    Yeah, that's not cool at all. I'm from the plains, not much water out there. And no giant meat eaters either!!

  2. It's not a hunting behavior, it's a traveling behavior. They swim in the wake of boats because it takes less energy to travel in the wake of something. Dolphins do it all the time and orcas are technically really big dolphins. Because they're smart and curious by nature they're probably playing as well because when orcas play it tends to be more or less the same as hunting behavior. They're smart enough to know that messing with boats isn't going to do anything for them, but if a person were to end up in the water with them the whales would probably go after them. It wouldn't be for food, but for fun. Dolphins kill stuff for sport all the time so I don't think orcas would be any different

    Sorry about babbling like this, I'm a marine biology nerd as a result of where I grew up.

  3. Great post, Ferric. I was going to say something of the sort about dolphin and orcas being related but it wouldn't have been as well put or informative.

  4. As far as I know, other than the fatalities at Seaworld, there are no documented Orca attacks on humans. I'm not sure why we're not on the menu, they enjoy seal and smaller dolphin – maybe we're too bony.

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