There’s still a lot to be studied and understood about the ocean and its inhabitants. A lot of people are shifting their focus from studying what’s out in space and more on what’s under the deep waters. A lot of new things are being discovered every day.
Over the centuries, we’ve occupied ourselves with creating and passing on a number of myths, legends, and mysteries that have come from the oceans. Most of them have still not been explained by mankind. Specifically, the behavior of marine life is one of those mysteries calling out for our attention.
On May 18th in Monterey, California, drone footage captured something that may confirm the way we understand the behavior of two specific forms of marine life. A group of orcas (also known as killer whales) and the blue whale.
The footage shows a group of killer whales carrying out a coordinated attack on a blue whale. National Geographic says this is pretty common.
They believe that killer whales are known to prey on other marine mammals, which can also include dolphins and seals.
Like in the case of a smaller human trying to pick a fight with a bigger one, these fearsome predators didn’t stand a chance against the blue whale.
The adult blue whale is considered the largest animal on the planet, reaching up to 100 feet long and weighing close to 200 tons.
As the killer whales surrounded the blue whale, the large animal instantly flipped on its side, sending up what looked like a wall of water. After that, it swam away fairly fast.
The speed in which the blue whale swam was not a match for the group of killer whales. Marine biologist Nancy Black saw the whole thing on a whale-watching boat.
So why exactly did this group of killer whales decide to attack this poor blue whale? Are they really living up to their common name?
According to Black “they were probably doing it for the heck of it.” If this is true, then they sound more like bullies than killers.
She continued by saying: “[Killer whales] play with [blue] whales like cats play with their prey. They are very playful and social.”
Nancy Black has a pretty strong background when it comes to whales. She’s been observing killer whales and other cetaceans for 25 years.
On the day that the drone caught the footage, the Monterey Bay Whale Watch team (ran by Black) was following about 15 killer whales. The tower of condensed air from the blue whale’s blowhole caught their attention.
They then saw the group of killer whales appear. Black told National Geographic that even though blue whales are significantly bigger than killer whales, they are huge scaredy-cats.
But they are scaredy-cats for a good reason. Black tells the National Geographic that although killer whales don’t usually succeed taking down an adult blue whale, they still bug them.
It is common, Black notes, for killer whales to gang up on whale mothers and chase them until they are fully separated from their calves.
Then they ultimately wear out the baby whale until it becomes easy prey. If killer whales were land animals, they would be the biggest jerks around.
According to Black, there are more killer whales seen in the Monterey waters during the migration season because of the blue whales and their calves. Clearly, they’re just waiting to pick on them.