First orcas are ramming boats, now they’re eating whale sharks. Orcas, also known as killer whales, are highly intelligent marine mammals and are actually the largest member of the dolphin family. They are known for their striking black-and-white coloration. Orcas are stunningly beautiful apex predators with a diverse diet that includes fish (including sharks) and marine mammals like seals, sea lions, and even other dolphins.
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You may remember all the exciting orca action earlier this year—first, there were boat rammings off the coast of Spain, then orcas were ramming boats near Scotland, and there were even rare orca sightings in Massachusetts. Orcas are fascinating animals that use sophisticated hunting techniques and strong social bonds within their pods to capture prey. While whale sharks are the largest fish species in the world, growing up to 40 feet or more in length, apparently, they can still be prey, if you’re an orca.
Orcas have been observed hunting and consuming various species of sharks, including great white sharks. Despite their enormous size, whale sharks are docile filter feeders, primarily consuming plankton and small fish. Let’s see in this video how a whale shark’s tough, 9-inch skin holds up to the “wolves of the sea.”
In this footage captured by James Moskito, CEO of Ocean Safaris, a California-based ocean tour company, two orcas approach a whale shark. The video was filmed just off the coast of Baja California in Mexico.
As the powerful predators approach the shark, one sinks its teeth into the belly of the whale shark before tearing its body, sadly leaving a lifeless shark behind.
The action is over in just a matter of seconds, and the whale shark’s adventures come to an end. Footage of an adult whale shark being stalked by an orca is rare.
Moskito shared that after the video, the orcas attacked another whale shark, and although it fought back, it did not survive. One of the adult whale sharks was a well-known adult male called Montezuma.
Orcas typically do not eat the entire shark. As seen in the video, they tend to tear out a shark’s liver for a nutritious snack. Researchers speculate that orcas have stumbled upon the remarkable nutritional value of shark livers and have learned to target livers in their attacks.