Orcinus orca, commonly known as killer whales or orcas, are marine mammals that are very intelligent, having the second largest brain in the animal kingdom. Using their intelligence and skills, orcas use strategic hunting skills to occasionally prey on larger mammals such as sperm whales, Physeter macrocephalus. Sperm whales live in well-defined social groups known as “pods.” To protect their young calf from being eaten from the orcas, incredible reaction from the pod of sperm whales were witnessed.
Orcas follow the pod of sperm whales days before the encounter to seek for the opportunity to kill. The pod of sperm whales leave to feed while the pregnant female sperm whale and its young calf are left alone in the shallow ocean. The attack begins. The orcas isolate the calf from its mother and begin biting its flesh. The rest of the pod hears the orcas and return to rescue the calf. They form an incredible, protective circle by tightly surrounding the calf side by side. They circle around the calf, anticlockwise, to stop orcas from getting to the calf.
The following video shows the incredible action taken by the sperm whales:
- By Hohono Rhine
Arnbom, Tom et al. (1987). Sperm Whales React to an Attack by Killer Whales, Mammalogy68 (2). Pages 450-453.