The footage, captured from a drone, shows two adult killer whales and their calves tearing a shark to pieces.
An incredible new video in California’s Monterey Bay showing killer whales ripping apart a large shark has gone viral, and the footage is remarkable for its rarity in showing the secret lives of offshore killer whales. Two adults and two calves can be seen in the video ripping up an approximately five-foot sevengill shark, which is even larger than the killer whale calves.
Offshore killer whales are not often seen – it’s the spotted killer whales that are way more common. Offshore killer whales have a very different diet than spotted killer whales in that they eat fish rather than mammals, and because of that they typically feed deep underwater and are rarely seen attacking prey like this. You can view the video at the bottom of this post.
It’s a fascinating glimpse into the lives of these elusive creatures, which most people aren’t even aware of. They look different from spotted killer whales, except they have rounded fins with multiple nicks on the edge, a smaller overall size, and less “sexual dimorphism,” which means the males and females are about the same size, according to NOAA’s website. Offshores have a much larger geographic range, and tend to stay at least 9 miles offshore, although they often visit coastal waters. They will congregate in groups of 20 to 75 animals, but some groups swell to up to 200 whales.
“Offshores have the largest geographic range of any killer whale community in the northeastern Pacific and often occur 9 miles (15 km) or more offshore,” NOAA’s website states. “But, they also visit coastal waters and occasionally enter protected inshore waters. Animals typically congregate in groups of 20-75 animals with occasional sightings of larger groups up to 200 whales. They are presumed to feed primarily on fish, though they have been documented feeding on sharks. Genetic analyses indicate that offshore killer whales are reproductively isolated from other forms of killer whales. Offshore killer whales are among the least observed and understood of all killer whale populations.”