killer whales

From: Howard Garrett (
Date: Sun Feb 27 2000 - 12:38:58 EST

What is lob-tailing?
How long can killer whales stay under water?
How long do killer whales live?
How deep can killer whales dive?
Where are killer whales mostly found?

Good questions. Lob-tailing is a behavior done by orcas as well as most
other dolphins and other species as well. It is usually a horizontal slap
of the broad tail flukes on the water surface, making a loud clapping
sound. Sometimes orcas turn upside down and do an inverted tail-lob.

Killer whales are known to stay under water for over twenty minutes. Keiko
has been timed at over 18 minutes under.

In the only study based on real field data, female orcas' average longevity
was 50.2 years, with some individuals living 80 or 90 or more years. For
males, average longevity was 29.2 years, with some individuals living into
their fifties or sixties.

Killer whales can dive over 500 feet deep, possibly twice that depth.

Killer whales are found mostly in the higher latitudes in both hemispheres,
where large prey are most abundant, but some groups are known to travel
into tropical areas from time to time. In fact they may appear in any part
of the world's oceans.

Howard Garrett
Tokitae Orca Conservation Foundation
2403 So. North Bluff Rd.
Greenbank WA 98253
(360) 678-3451

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