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About us

Hello! My name is Chess and as you can guess, I am an Orca! I am a toothed whale belonging to the oceanic dolphin family and I am one the largest members!

As you can guess from my name, Chess, you can identify me when you see my black-and-white patterned body!

My home

You can find other Orcas like me in all the oceans and most of the seas.

You can find us in cold water in places like Antarctica, Norway and Alaska. You can also find me in warm water in tropical and subtropical areas!

Even though Orcas like me are mostly found in all oceans, we sometimes move into the freshwater rivers too! we are seasoned travellers within our ocean habitats.

Our size

Adult male orcas are larger overall than their female counterparts including features such as pectoral flippers, dorsal fins, tail flukes, and girth.

Males are 5 to 9 meters or 16 to 29 feet, and females are 4 to 7 meters or 13 to 23 feet. The maximum weight is 9072 kgs that‛s over 20,000 pounds.

We have huge fins, up to 2 meters or 6 1/2 feet in males that sit upright in the middle of the back.

Our lifetime

A female Orca gives birth to 1 calf every five years, and she averages 5 calves per lifetime. Female orcas give birth every three to ten years. The gestation period is very long, and it lasts for 15-18 months births occur in any part of the year.

Our communication

We communicate via 3 sounds: clicks, whistles, and pulsed calls. Amazingly, different groups of orcas ‘speak‛ different dialects.

Our sleep

Like other dolphins, Orcas cannot completely go to sleep, because they have to go up to the surface to breathe every now and then. Instead, they sleep with just half of their brains. If an orca’s left eye is open, that means the right side of its brain is awake and the other asleep, and vice versa.

Can't smell

We do not have smelling organs or a lobe of the brain dedicated to smelling, so it is believed that they cannot smell. They do, however, have good senses ofsight and hearing. They can hear better than dogs and even bats.

Our lives

We are famous for the complexity of their social lives. Some of us spend our entire lives in pods in which all members are related to a matrilineal line. Others form smaller groups that travel longer distances.

Sources of pollution

Many sources of pollution enter ocean waters and sediments, including wastewater treatment plants, sewer outfalls, and pesticides. These contaminants can harm, the immune and reproductive systems. In addition, increased vessel noise causes our Southern Residents to call louder, expending more energy in the process.

Fishing gear poses a high risk of entangling us. Once entangled, we may drag and swim with attached gear for long distances or be anchored in place and unable to swim. Events such as these result in fatigue compromised feeding ability, or severe injury may ultimately lead to death.

Indirect impact

Oil spills can also have an indirect impact on us by affecting the abundance of prey species.

Overfishing and habitat loss have reduced the amount of prey available to some of us. Without enough prey, orcas might experience decreased reproductive rates and increased mortality rates.

Interesting facts

  • We don’t chew food, we swallow food whole or may tear or shred it.
  • We travel in pods of between 3 and 50 individuals, led by females.
  • We don’t typically attack humans, but some call us killer whales because of their ability to take down large animals, such as other whales and sea lions.
  • We have a brain that is the second largest of all marine mammals and is second to only the sperm whale which has the largest brain out of any living animal.
  • Do you know how deep I can swim in the ocean? I can dive 100 to 500 feet, several times a day, every day!
  • We have about 45 teeth each around 7.6 cm or almost 3 inches long.

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