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Were Orcas Thinking About Eating This Paddle Boarder?

While paddle boarding off a coast in New Zealand, Justin Serville encountered what he describes as a “beautiful exchange of energy” when some orcas surfaced to look at him. 

In the video, Serville says to the whales: “Hello gorgeous. How are you? Hello darling.” And, he adds in his description that he was tempted to swim with them but he resisted because it’s illegal in New Zealand

Based on his comments and reaction, you get the impression that the orcas were just being curious and maybe a little playful. But if you read the comments, many people seem to think that the apex predators had other intentions. 

“Like snakes, orcas will stretch out beside their potential prey to see if they will fit inside them if consumed. These orcas were checking to see if they could eat you,” said one commenter. And, another said: “They literally circling their next meal.” 

Of course, these are just internet comments and there’s no way to tell what the orcas were thinking — if they were saying hello or considering eating him — but they do seem curious in the video and there is empirical about orca behavior. 

Although there have been stories in the past year of orcas attacking ships, according to reports, wild orcas rarely attack humans. In an interview with Live Science, orca expert Erich Hoyt explained that orcas typically stick to eating what they grew up eating. 

“I don’t think a killer whale would ever hunt a human,” Hoyt said. “They are fussy eaters, really conservative in terms of whatever they learned from their mothers and from their pod about what constitutes food.”

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