See Killer Whales Pull Off an Extraordinary Hunting Strategy to Topple a Seal Off of an Iceberg

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Written by Sharon Parry

Published: November 16, 2023

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dynamic jump of killer whale hunting fish
© Tatiana Ivkovich/

This video will convince you if you didn’t realize that killer whales were ruthless hunters before. It features a pod of killer whales, most of whom need a seal daily to stay alive. They have spotted some crab eater seals on an ice floe and are sizing them as their next meal. The matriarch leader of this pod knows precisely how to transfer the seals from the ice into their mouths!

First, the pods work together to produce a massive wave that splits the ice floe in half. Then, the killer whales push it into open water, which is the ideal location for the next attack move. The matriarch calculates the perfect angle and run-up distance and launches the attack. Working as a team, the pod creates another huge wave, which washes one of the seals into the water. There is a brief and frantic chase, which ends in the seal miraculously reaching another ice floe and safety. But how long for?

What Do Killer Whales Normally Eat?

Killer whales are also called orcas and live in all the world’s oceans. They have been seen as far north as the Arctic Ocean and as far south as the Antarctic Ocean. They seem to prefer colder waters but have also been seen in tropical waters. While they don’t have a fixed migration pattern, they move from area to area, looking for the best food sources. This particular pod has spotted some crab-eating seals.

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Orcas are ruthless and highly successful predators. They are happy to eat quite a large variety of prey, but seals seem to be their favorite. They will also eat sea lions, smaller whales, and dolphins. Studies of their stomach contents have also revealed fish, squid, octopi, sea turtles, and even sea birds. They need around 100 pounds of food a day to stay healthy.

How Do Killer Whales Normally Behave?

Killer Whale - (Orcinus Orca)

Killer whales live in groups called pods.

©Tory Kallman/

Killer whales are highly social animals who live and hunt in groups called pods. They can coordinate their social behavior and use complex communication methods to work as a team to hunt prey that is much larger than themselves. They got their name ‘killer whales’ because they were labeled as ‘killers of whales’ by ancient sailors.

A pod can consist of as many as 50 individuals led by an older female. The older animals teach the younger whales their hunting techniques and soon become experts.

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About the Author

Dr Sharon Parry is a writer at A-Z animals where her primary focus is on dogs, animal behavior, and research. Sharon holds a PhD from Leeds University, UK which she earned in 1998 and has been working as a science writer for the last 15 years. A resident of Wales, UK, Sharon loves taking care of her spaniel named Dexter and hiking around coastlines and mountains.

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