Orca vs The Great White Shark

Who would Win The Battle?

The Great White Shark

When you think of creatures in the ocean, most will consider the great white shark as the most dangerous predator.

The great white shark is the most feared predator in the marine ecosystem around the world. They play a major role in controlling the ecosystem for the well of all.

As of late, the washed-up carcasses of these enormous sharks are signs that their greatest predator is the killer whale followed by human destruction.

Before getting into Orcas vs Sharks, there are things you should know about both.

The great white shark is a cartilaginous fish that has demanded great respect and fear for many years. Cartilaginous are fish that have skeletons composed of cartilage. They are in the class of Chondrichthyes.

There is more fiction than fact regarding the biggest predator of the ocean. Many people refer to great white sharks as “man-eaters” which is also another myth, that rarely occurs in comparison to other animal attacks.

Orcas also referred to as killer whales, are the largest in the dolphin family and considered the most powerful predator. Orcas are easily known for their distinctive black and white markings.

Orcas are extremely intelligent and very social animals. They have the ability to produce a huge range of sounds for communicating and each pod (or group) has distinctive sounds that the other members will easily recognize even from a distance.

Similar to bats, they use echolocation to communicate and hunt by emitting sound waves underwater. Echolocation is the process of reflecting sounds coming off objects underwater and used by animals including dolphins underwater or bats on land. These sounds bounce back from objects revealing their location, size, and shape.

The Size Of Sharks & Orcas

The great white shark comes in at 4 to 7 meters in length with an average of 6 meters (19.6 Feet).

They weigh approximately 3,000 to 3,400 kilograms or 7,495 lbs.

According to Sea World, the largest Orca on record was 9.8 m long (385 ft). That equates to the length of a school bus!

Orcas can weigh up to 5,443 kilograms and grow to 9.7 meters.

Habitats & Environment

The Great White Shark is found on the coasts of North America in the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.

These sharks also live in the waters off the coasts of South Africa, Japan, the Mediterranean Sea, Oceania, and North America.

There is a rather robust population by the Dyer Island in South Africa which is a popular spot for research on sharks and their lives.

Their habitats include coasts and continents where the waters do not go beyond 1,875 meters (6151 ft). In open waters, their habitats are less than 1,200 meters (3937 ft).

Killer whales easily adapt to their surroundings including warmer waters near the equator or colder water of the North and South Pole regions. In general, orcas are found at higher latitudes and near the shores.

Diets & Hunting Style

Sharks are carnivorous but usually do not feed on large species. They often prey on smaller animals including squid, rays, and other fish. Adults often target other sharks, seals, sea lions, dolphins, and whale corpses. Once in a while, they will catch turtles and seabirds.

Their methods for hunting will depend on the target prey and the size of the species.

Once they detect their possible food using sound waves, they will locate it below the water then stealthily swim vertically. Once they are close, they will inflict a deadly bite and wait for the victim to bleed and die, then eat it.

Should the prey survive, they will hold it with their lower teeth while the upper teeth tear the tissues apart.

Orcas are on the top of the food chain and no other animal will even attempt to hunt them.

Killer whales feed on sea birds, squid, octopuses, sea turtles, sharks, rays, and a variety of fish. They will also eat marine mammals including seals and dugongs. They have been known to literally grab seals off the ice.

Orcas have several techniques to get their prey. They can beach themselves to catch seals on land. Many times, they work together to catch large prey or groups of prey including schools of fish.

Strange Sightings & Behavior

It’s somewhat difficult to imagine great white sharks as prey but it has happened.

In 2017, five great white sharks were washed up on the shores of South Africa’s Western Cape. The bodies ranged from 9-feet to 16-feet and revealed large sets of puncture marks near the pectoral fins.

The predators knew exactly where to bite their victims and each shark was missing its liver. Scientists decided the only other predator that could inflict such danger to these sharks would be the killer whale.

Orcas are apex predators and can rival great whites for killing efficiency. An apex predator or alpha predator is at the top of the food chain without any natural predators.

Orcas have been reported slamming into great white sharks off the coast of San Francisco. The force of the blow gave the killer whale the opportunity to turn the shark upside down and hold it in that position.

As large and ferocious as great white sharks can be, they are susceptible to tonic immobility. If they are held upside down in the water, they become paralyzed because of their need for water to cut across their gills in order to breathe. Due to their exceptional intelligence, killer whales can orchestrate hunting packs similar to wolves. They have shown over and over they can disarm a great white shark very quickly.

By nature, large predators like orcas go after prey that has a lot of rich blubber on their bodies. Sharks, in general, are not appealing as meals. There are sections of sharks that appeal to killer whales. Orcas will make very precise bites on sharks in the areas they want.

The major targets are the liver, stomachs, and testes of sharks. Killer whales learned a long time ago, a great white shark’s liver is nutrient-rich so that’s what they go after. The data dates back decades but not until recently has there been such a rise in attacks on sharks.

Some researchers believe it could be the change in the ranges of the animals. The shark population has grown enormously due to restrictions on fishing. It could also be caused because killer whales are running out of their chosen foods and turning to great whites for nourishment.

So Who Would Win The Battle?

There is no cut-and-dry answer to which animal would win the battle. Most research shows Orca would have the upper hand just because of their intelligence & size

The good news for sharks, they are learning and adjusting to this threat. Many sharks have been leaving some areas when they know there are killer whales in the area.

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