Penguin Has a Brilliant Escape from Killer Whales

An isolated full-body profile view of a king penguin
Alexey Seafarer/

Written by Angie Menjivar

Updated: October 19, 2023

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Penguins can often be seen huddling in large groups—not only does this behavior help them keep warm, but it also helps to protect them from predators. They are also fast swimmers. Their bodies have evolved with a streamlined design that allows them to travel quickly underwater. Although they are classified as birds, penguins can’t fly.

One of the predators penguins must protect themselves against is the killer whale. Orcas feed on different types of prey like fish, seals, and of course, penguins. In this video, several orcas can be seen swimming near a group of people in a boat.

Don’t Miss The Moment a Penguin Makes New Friends to Stay Alive

A penguin uses its survival instincts to keep itself from becoming the prey of killer whales.

In the background, you can see a large glacier. Suddenly, there is a small, unusual creature bouncing in and out of the water. The footage is a bit blurry to be fair, so it may take you a second to make out what’s going on.  

However, if you’re already familiar with the way penguins swim, you’ll spot it easily. Penguins don’t stay underwater when swimming—their paddle-like flippers are used like wings, which allows them to “fly” through the water, diving under and flying up before diving down again.

The orcas in the video have spotted the penguin and begin to circle it. The penguin changes direction, heading straight for the boat.

“Come on, boy!” says one of the men in the background. You can hear several sympathetic groans as they look on, unsure if they’re about the witness the mesmerizing yet cruel realities of life in the wild.

The orcas are in close pursuit of the penguin, also ducking below and above the water. Knowing its life is in danger, the penguin’s survival instincts are turned all the way up. You can see how fast it moves, darting left then right as the orcas try to close on it.

It’s much like a high-speed police chase you can sometimes catch live on television. The orcas are unrelenting, and the penguin is speeding in all different directions, trying to get away.

Finally, the penguin decides the boat full of friendly people is its best escape. It leaps onto the boat, much to the surprise of the occupants, and takes a breather. As if obeying some unspoken agreement, the orcas immediately stop their pursuit.

The next few scenes show the occupants of the boat along with the penguin that has made these strangers its temporary friends. Although their prey is just feet away, the orcas breach a few times but don’t display any aggression toward the boat, the penguin, or the occupants.

Although this is a day the orcas will want to forget, it’s sure to be a memorable one for both the humans and that lucky penguin!

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About the Author

Angie Menjivar is a writer at A-Z-Animals primarily covering pets, wildlife, and the human spirit. She has 14 years of experience, holds a Bachelor's degree in psychology, and continues her studies into human behavior, working as a copywriter in the mental health space. She resides in North Carolina, where she's fallen in love with thunderstorms and uses them as an excuse to get extra cuddles from her three cats.

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