Orcas are truly majestic and dangerous creatures, and there’s no better way to remember they’re both majestic and dangerous than by watching them hunt in the wild. Recently, a photographer in southern California captured footage of an orca doing just that.
Ryan Lawler of Pacific Offshore Expeditions posted the video on Instagram. He wrote in the caption, “Orcas rarely use their teeth to kill prey. Most of the time a combination of body-slamming, head-butting and slaps from the tail are used to inflict blunt force trauma.”
Lawler also noted the graphic nature of the video, and commented on the fact that some may feel sad for the dolphin. “While this is no doubt a sad video in some respects,” he wrote, “this is the way of the Orca. One dolphin fed the entire pod of five for at least one whole day.”
The video was taken on Christmas Day near Anacapa Island off Ventura County, California. The video shows a huge orca headbutting and tail-slapping a dolphin, stunning it so the orcas can then go in for the kill.
Orcas Dwarf Great White Shark As They Hunt in Fascinating Footage
Another example of the orca’s intense hunting strategy is this footage of a pod hunting a great white shark. Each orca takes turns taking chunks out of the shark until it sinks and they can have their fill before swimming off.
Orcas always hunt in twos or threes, creating harrowing situations for their prey before going in. Mostly, they feed on fish, seals, and dolphins, but they won’t turn down a shark here or there. They work in tandem to create waves that knock seals off of sea ice and into the water. Orcas will also purposely beach themselves in order to attract sea lions. They snatch the sea lions up and retreat back into the water with their prize.
Whale Watchers Have ‘Magical’ Experience On the Water
Back in September, a group of whale watchers got the treat of a lifetime. Off the shores of San Diego, a boat full of whale watchers spotted a pod of orcas that surfaced while hunting. Domenic Biagini, the owner of Gone Whale Watching San Diego, said after the fact, “All in all this was one of the best trips in our company’s history.”
The orcas surfaced and leaped out of the water a few times, before catching something to eat and speeding off. The whales were about 50 miles south of San Diego, and passengers aboard the boat were able to get a front-row seat to an orca hunt. The whales did exactly as they did in the above video: stunned a dolphin with headbutts and tail-slapping, and then made off with their meal.