Orca Vs Sperm Whale

Who would win a fight between these two incredible giants?

Let’s dive into the deep oceans to find out who would win the fight!

The killer whale is one of the biggest toothed whale species, and probably the most recognizable.

Also known as “orcas”, killer whales are impressively smart marine predators, preying on a wide range of sea animals.

Through the times, orcas did not get the study and attention they deserved and there are several misconceptions about them through the years, due to this lack of knowledge.

Their reputation as killer whales and rivals of all marine species has classified them as sea monsters.

The Sperm whale, on the other hand, is the biggest of the toothed whales and has a better reputation, especially supported in popular tales like “Moby Dick”.

They got their name from their massive and bulky organ which contains a liquid waxy substance called “spermaceti”.

This substance can be cooled or heated, potentially by water that enters the whale’s blowhole, decreasing or increasing the concentration to help the whale sink, or broadening and decreasing in concentration to help the whale rise to the surface.

Size and Body Description

Orcas are among the biggest species of the dolphin family, weighing up to 6 metric tons and measuring 23-32 feet or 7 to 9.7 meters in length. That length is equal to a school bus.

Orcas are distinguished by their long rear fin on their back and contrasting black and white coloration.

Just behind their rear fin is a spot called a “saddle”, as it has the shape of a saddle.

An orca’s body is round and tapered at both edges, creating a more aerodynamic form.

The head is approx. 1 meter or more lengthwise and it hosts the biggest brain of all the dolphins, weighing 5.6 kilograms or 12.3 pounds.

The muscles that shut their mouth are gigantic, and they have a set of more than 40 intertwined and bent teeth.

Their teeth are mostly large, with a length of around 10 cm or 4 inches and 4 cm or 1.6” wide.

The sperm whale is the biggest of all toothed whale species.

Male whales measure 60 feet or 17 meters on average and weigh 50 Tons. The females are smaller and measure 37 feet or 12 meters with an average weight between 14 to 18 tons.

Their coloring is dark gray and unlike orcas, they have a hump in place of a dorsal fin, usually showing their tails when they drive back to the water.

Their skin is creased to boost surface coverage for the prevention of heat loss, making them appear more shriveled.

Their kills form ⅓ of their body length and have a squarish form.

They bear one s-shaped blowhole found in the front far and left of their head, which yields a characteristic curved blow of water.

Males have 40 to 50 teeth on average, found only in their narrow lower jawlines. Female sperm whales have even fewer teeth.

Their brain weighs on average around 17 pounds or 7.7 kilograms.

Natural Range and Environment

Killer whales are most broadly found mammals, aside from humans.

They reside in oceans and deep seas, surrounding most coastal areas.

They are highly adaptable to any climate. For instance, they can reside in the warm waters of the Ecuador coast as well as the icy cold waters of the Southern and North pole areas.

Killer whales are more likely to inhabit higher coastal latitudes and swim near the shore.

They don’t like to live in one area for long and they have been seen to swim long distances.

For instance, one study has found a pack of orcas swimming from the cold waters of Alaska to the warm waters of California, covering a distance beyond more than 2000 kilometers or 1.2 miles.

Sperm whales reside in every ocean across the globe, although they avoid icy cold waters, especially waters near ice and the north and south pole.

Female whales typically reside in more tropical water zones within a 45-55 degree latitude. On the other hand, males like to swim in temperate waters.

Sperm whales have a preference for deep waters surrounding oceanic trenches, where powerful currents move in opposite directions, bring a wealth of nutrients to the spot, and attract a big number of species the sperm whales can feed on.

In California, sperm whales can be spotted in waters outside the continental range, during the warm April to November season.

Diet and Hunting Style

Orcas are top predators which means they are at the highest of the food chain.

No other species hunt orcas, apart from humans.

Orcas mainly eat sea birds, squids, sharks, rays, fish, octopuses, and sea turtles.

They also hunt large marine mammals like seals and dugongs, even though they avoid river dolphins and manatees.

Killer whales have also been documented to prey on moose.

They use various strategies to grab their prey.

In some cases, they move to the shore to catch seals on land, hopping from the water to the shore.

Orcas will also collaborate to catch bigger animals or groups of animals such as packs of big fish.

Sperm whales are mainly carnivores that like to eat squid and octopuses for the most part, as well as fish and jellyfish.

They have a great vision and may go after their prey by gazing at the water above them to detect squid or jellyfish figures or by tracking bioluminescence.

They can dive and swim for more than an hour and at depths up to 6000 feet looking for food, using their echolocation skills to track their settings in the dark.

Besides humans, the only major sperm whale enemy is the killer whale.

Their Behavior

Orcas are quite social and reside in groups known as pods, which typically contain up to 40 members.

There are two separate types of pods: a resident pod that mainly eats fish and is less aggressive.

On the other hand, transient pods act like wolf groups are far more aggressive, hunting larger prey animals like seals.

A female orca will breed every 3-10 years to one baby at a time. However, they compensate for that by living up to 100 years.

Orcas also use echolocation to communicate with each other and hunt.

They will produce a sound that moves through the water until the sound waves hit something and then bounce back to the killer whales.

Using this hunting strategy, they are able to find where other orcas and objects are located in the region.

Orcas have a distinct black and white coloring for a reason: it helps conceal them by hindering their figure in the water.

Females, as well as young male sperm whales, are social creatures, sometimes seen in groups of up to 50 whales.

Sperm whales are excellent divers, found to dive to depths that exceed 300 feet or 1000 meters and stay there for a couple of hours.

Impressively, they reach these depths in just a few minutes.

Sperm whales will also yield multiple clicks known as “codas”. Every sperm whale has a unique coda and marine biologists think that other sperm whales recognize one another through their codas.

There are also reports that they make string bouts of sound to immobilize their prey. The sperm whale is an animal that is famous for standing in big groups.

When they sleep at night, they adopt a vertical position, with their heads placed near the ground.

Now let’s find out, who would win a battle between the two: the killer whale or the sperm whale?

This is probably the biggest predatory battle you can see on earth, the biggest super predator in a face-to-face fight with the biggest toothed whale species. It’s truly a battle of giants.

Orcas are infamous for killing other whales, even sperm whales, which are 3X their size.

Orca is a very smart animal.

There is evidence suggesting that their brain resembles that of great apes, elephants, and even humans.

A male sperm whale in its peak is just too large and too strong for a killer whale to handle.

A female sperm whale is nearly half the size of a male and according to documented encounters between the two whales, orcas need considerable amounts of effort to kill even a female sperm whale. Hence, if they wish to go after a sperm whale, they will hunt on pods.

In spite of their huge size edge and their gigantic jawlines hosting the biggest teeth set in the world, sperm whales will flee in the sight of orcas.

When sperm whales are attacked, they often create wagon-wheel formation with their heads facing in and their tails oriented out.

When they form this shape, they flap about the water with their huge tails to intimidate and keep their attackers off.

Orcas should be extra cautious around provoked sperm whales because a hit from a tail could be fatal.

Therefore, it’s not an easy fight but if the orcas are hunting in pods and persist for several hours, the orcas will most likely win, especially if the sperm whale is alone. Their speedy attacks that reach up to 28 miles per hour, will also help them succeed.

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