This Stingray Gets Knocked Out Cold by an Orca Tail Slap

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Written by Sharon Parry

Published: February 12, 2024

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Killer Whale, orcinus orca, Female with Calf
© slowmotiongli/Shutterstock.com

Getting close to a stingray is risky, even for an accomplished predator such as an orca. They are not called stingrays for nothing! But, if you can take them by surprise and stun them with a brutal tail slap, they don’t put up a fight. In this amazing clip, we get a close-up view of exactly that. The stingray has no idea what is about to hit it and ends up completely stunned and on its back.

What Do Orcas Normally Eat?

Orcas are superbly successful hunters. They are also not too fussy about what they eat. On the orca menu, you could find several different types of seals, seal lions, small whales, and shark species, as well as dolphins. They also snack on smaller prey, including fish, squid, octopuses, and sea turtles. Orcas eat around 100 pounds of meat a day, but many eat a lot more if they get the chance. Larger prey is torn up, but smaller prey is swallowed whole.

As you can see in this clip, it is normal for orcas to hunt in groups called pods.

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What Are the Different Orca Hunting Techniques?

Aggressive killer whales attack a peaceful whale shark in the blue depths of the sea

Killer whales are skilled predators.

©Vladimir Turkenich/Shutterstock.com

All orcas display generalist foraging behavior, but they are also highly intelligent and fast learners. Many groups have developed skills in hunting abundant prey in their area. To do this, they have developed a variety of techniques.

They have been seen using intentional beaching to catch sea lions in South America. This involves them hurling themselves out of the water and then wriggling back into the sea (hopefully) with their prey. They use a similar technique to catch southern elephant seals in the Atlantic and South Indian Oceans.

Another trick of theirs is to create waves to wash animals off ice floes. They use this for crabeater and Weddell seals and for penguins! Even if the target prey is not washed into the ocean, the force of the wave often splits the ice floe into pieces, so it has no choice but to dive off.

They also have a karate chop move, which they use for sharks. The idea is to stun the prey so they do not try to swim away or fight back. Finally, they also use a tail slap, as we see here. The orca’s tail is very strong and delivers a powerful blow. It can be used on an individual fish or on a group of fish that the orca has first herded into a tight ball.


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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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