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Sea killer whales, threatening and threatened presence in the seas and oceans. They are mammals that belong to the delphinidae family. The name derives from the Latin Orcus but in other countries this animal is called in various ways: in England blackhfish, in Russia kasatka or kosatka, in Japan sakamata or shachi, in Eskimese hahyrna, sverdifscur or huyding.
Killer whales: characteristics
Sea killer whales have one enviable social life even if we see them as a danger. Among themselves, these mammals create large groups called pods, which can even have 100-150 individuals. In these pods the sea killer whales even communicate with their own dialect, albeit in the smaller ones, created by "Passing killer whales or transients", but above all from "Resident killer whales" which form much larger groups.
Differences develop between killer whales belonging to the first and second groups, for example the "Residents" they dive no longer than 4-5 minutes, eat fish, make a lot of cries and have a more rounded dorsal fin. The "passing" sea killer whales they stay underwater for up to a quarter of an hour, eat marine mammals and are more silent, have a more pointed dorsal fin and make more changes of direction.
Sea killer whales size
A male killer whale can weigh even 10 tons, a female stops at 8, as far as length is concerned, it can vary from 5 to 9/10 meters, again for the male, the female can also remain 4 meters long and usually does not reach 10 meters but a maximum of 8.
The considerable size should not make us think that these mammals are clumsy or slow, on the contrary, in their category they stand out for speed in swimming. Can reach even 55 km / h thanks to the powerful thrust of the tail which at first glance appears muscular.
Always observing the sea killer whales free to move, you can see how they carry out a series of actions that have specific names and characteristics. The breaching it is a jump with the body totally out of the water, it spyhopping instead, it is a complete emergence of only the head, the lobtailing it is a kind of very strong "slap" given on the water with the caudal fin, keeping the rest of the body underwater.
There is also the logging which is always a "slap" on the surface of the water but given with the dorsal fin, usually the sea killer whales of the same pod give it simultaneously.
Sea killer whales in the Mediterranean
These feared mammals are widespread in all seas, or almost, but a bit patchy and not particularly in that Mediterranean, Which will make many people breathe a sigh of relief. Most of the specimens live in the cold waters of the North Pacific, every now and then some of them stay in the estuaries area and can go up the rivers but sightings in the Mediterranean remain very rare.
For the sea killer whales optimal areas are arctic or antarctic ones where, in summer, they can hunt among the ice floes, although it is difficult to estimate the total number we can speak of 100,000 total specimens, of which 70% in the Arctic. Few are those that migrate to the equator, with the heat, the coasts of North America, those around the Aleutian Islands and the Norwegian waters remain to "crowd" more willingly.
Some pods have been sighted in the Gulf of Mexico, but more often close to Australia, New Zealand and Japan as well as along the coasts of China.
Sea killer whales in Italy
If I'm sightings in the Mediterranean are rare, those on the Italian coasts are even more so. Ours is not a sea for sea geese but it is for the Mediterranean monk seal
Killer sea killer whales
Killer whales are capable of attacking any marine animal, in fact they are also called "killer whale": they unscrupulously killed whales and fin whales arousing the hatred of the whalers who saw themselves "robbed" of their prey, a source of income.
Over the years they have been documented attacks on other cetaceans, even some sharks such as the white shark, such as sea lions, walruses and penguins not to mention fish and invertebrates. Sea killer whales have also tried to killing land animals such as moose but not the man, at least there are no official documents that tell of a murder committed by sea killer whales against a person if we do not consider the six cases, all in captivity, one of which is very doubtful, dating back to 1972.
But anyone who wants to imagine what it would be like to deal with killer sea whales can enjoy watching the film "The Killer Whale" with Richard Harris and Charlotte Rampling, directed by Michael Anderson, also available for purchase on Amazon for 11 euros.
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