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Killer Whales

By William Carli

Killer (their true name is Orca) whales are incredibly beautiful, extremely social, highly intelligent and often very playful animals. The past perception of them as blood thirsty killers, the wolf pack of the sea, needs to be re-evaluated as there becomes more and more interaction between humans and Orca whales. The increasing interest in whale watching around the world has given us a new in-sight and a better understanding about these incredible animals. This new wisdom on humans part is due to the ever increasing interaction between the species and this increasing interaction is because more people are joining in whale watching activities.

Orca whales are by far the largest member of the dolphin family. The average length of an Orca calf at birth is 7 to 8 feet long. By the time they reach maturity an Orca can easily reach a length of 25 to 30 feet. Full grown females on average weight between 4 to 6 tons, and a mature male can weigh in at closer to 10 tons. The dorsal fin on a full grown male stands over 6 feet tall. The normal life expectancy of these incredible animals in is doubt. Although in the Pacific Northwest one of the whales in J pod, named “Granny”, is known to be almost 100 years old. Many publications state the average life expectancy of an Orca whale to be between 30 and 90 years, which to this writer seems more of a “cover all your bases, because we really don’t know” educated guess.

These whales are extremely social animals and they live in groups called pods and are hardly ever seen as a solitary animal. In the San Juan Island archipelago of Washington State live about 85 to 90 Orca whales for most of the year. This group has been highly studied, each animal photographed, and named, and their genealogy has been traced back almost 100 years. Science has been able to show that these animals live in a matriarchal society and “Granny” being the oldest female whale in the group is the “leader of the pack”. Her son “Ruffles” a full grown, breeding male hardly ever leaves her side.

Except for human beings Orca whales are found throughout the world living in more places than any other mammals. From the frigid waters of the Arctic to Antarctica, Orca whales range throughout the oceans of our world. The best location to see these magnificent animals in the wild is in Washington State. The San Juan Island archipelago which is made up of over 170 different islands is easily accessible to most whale watching enthusiast, and is also home to the largest concentration of Orca whales in the world.

The natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest would make them an ideal destination area on their own. Throw in the chance to see Orca whales in the wild and for the Orca whale lover you will have discovered a place like on other on our planet.

To receive more information about Orca Whales please visit us at Captain Carli Whale Watching

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Carli, William "Killer Whales." Killer Whales. 21 Jun. 2010. 29 Aug 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Carli, W (2010, June 21). Killer Whales. Retrieved August 29, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Carli, William "Killer Whales"

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