Do Orcas Attack Humans? | Are They Vicious As It Sound?

Did you hear Orca or killer whale’s name before? If not, Orcas are a species of dolphin. They also like humans because they always like to spend their time with their family members. Also, they are social and friendly. But do orcas attack humans?

The doubt arises in our mind about their friendly behavior due to the size and the name “killer whale.” But further reading will solve your doubt. Trust me!  

Do Orcas Attack Humans

Do Orcas Eat Humans?

Oscar is also known as the killer whale. Of course, when you hear the name “killer whale,” you might imagine a fish-like monster. But keep in mind imagination are not always similar to reality. 

According to historical knowledge, the answer is no. Orcas do not eat humans. But many people are wondering about this answer. 

Because of this family-oriented species is one of the only cetaceans that eat other mammals, including large whales. 

Due to that, many people think, if orcas or killer whales can consume other large mammals, why do they not eat humans? There are several important reasons. Let see why?

Why Don’t Orcas Eat Humans?

  • Researchers found out that humans are not tasteful to orcas. Because they do not desire to eat humans. So, we are not on the menu of orcas. 
  • Another possible reason is humans do not favor any food source of orcas. Thus there is not the main reason for orcas to attack humans.
  • As we know, most animals attack and kill others due to territorial issues. But this reason does not find relevant to the orcas and humans because orcas do not have territorial nature. In the ocean, orcas swim long distances. Thus, they share their homes with many fish species. 

So, many researchers’ ultimate finding is that orcas or killer whales do not eat humans.

But there are few records of attacks of orcas on humans. But it is very rare to find fatal attacks. 

Mainly we can find out most of these attacks occur in captivity. Also, most of these attacks have happened to the trainers. 

So, why do these captive orcas tend to attack their trainers? Simply imagine you are in jail for one week. How about your mentality like this situation? Do you have good mental health?

 So, what about the mentality of the orcas that have to live in captivity for their whole lifetime. 

As a result of this, some orcas tend to show aggression towards humans and other animals. Because they have to live in small isolated areas without their family and friends. 

Why Don’t Orcas Attack Humans?

killer whales are dangerous. But they do not attack humans. It is an exciting factor of the killer whale or Orcas. Isn’t it? But why? 

There are several myths and legends about the bond between humans and orcas. There are several historical stories about the friendship of humans and Orcas.

These are described and how they were helping each other. 

So, these stories tried to reveal some kind of spiritual and ancestral connection between humans and killer whales. You may think it is like crazy. But we cannot completely rule out history. Since it could be hidden some secrets.

However, orcas are a highly intelligent animal that has the capability of a diverse range of thought process. Why do I say orcas are intelligent?

Now I am going to tell you a few exciting things about orcas. After hearing them, you surely believe that they are intelligent. 

There were many observations about the orcas. They can recognize themselves in the mirror. And also, when orcas dead, their friends hold ceremonies similar to our funerals.  

Can you believe that? Not only these, but they also use complex communication signals to talk to each other. 

Also, orcas try to mimic human languages. So, how don’t we agree that orcas are intelligent? But let’s find the more possible reasons why Orcas do not attack humans. 

Generally, there are four reasons for animals to attack humans. 

Reason 1: When aggravating the animals, they attack humans. But orcas are massive and fast-moving animals. So, it is pretty hard to aggravate this kind of animal. 

Reason 2: When humans enter their territory, they will try to attack humans. But in nature, orcas are not territorial animals. 

They travel long distances in the ocean. And also, they distribute the food chain amongst various families. So, they do not need to fight for space. 

Reason 3: Generally, most animals attack humans and other animals because of fear. But this is not applying to orcas or killer whales. 

They are like a king of the ocean. Orcas do not have any predators naturally. So, do orcas have any reason to fear people? 

Reason 4: If orcas want to eat humans, they definitely attack you. But humans are not a part of the orcas’ diet. 

Usually, fish-eating orcas do not tend to attack seals. Like that, they do not attack humans. Simply they do not like to eat you. So, they do not attack you. 

These are findings of researching behavioral patterns of the orcas. Also, their intelligence and culture affect the behavior of this animal.

But these are totally speculations. Because we cannot communicate with them and ask them why they do not attack humans?

Do Orcas Attack Humans

How Often Do Orcas Attack Humans In The Wild?

According to history, there is no evidence to prove that there was any fatal attack of orcas or killer whales on humans in the wild. 

Do Orcas Ever Attack Humans In The Wild?

Typically, orcas are powerful and very large apex predators. But there are no records regarding the fatal attacks of orcas on humans in the wild.

However, there are several records of non-fatal attacks of orcas on humans. But most of these people who faced the attacks were not bitten or injured in any way.

Here, researchers assumed that most probably orcas misidentified these humans as prey. 

For instance, there is a record about the 12 years old boy who faced the attack of orcas. But this boy did not have any bite or injury due to the attack. 

However, there have been records since 1970 regarding the several fatal and non-fatal attacks of orcas on humans in captivity. 

Are Orcas Dangerous To Divers?

No. orcas are not dangerous to divers. So, if you ask, is it safe to swim with orcas? Of course, you can swim with orcas.

But you should be cautious. Because Orca is also wild animal. We cannot predict their behaviors at the next movement. Therefore, you should care all time. 

Also, orcas are known as killer whales. They got this name because they have the power and ability to attack and kill all animals, including large whales.

 So, you should pay great attention when dealing with orcas.  

Do Orca Saves Human?

Yes. There are stories of fishermen who had the help of orcas while they were in danger in the ocean.

There were many stories about saving the human’s life by orcas when fishermen were falling into shark-infested waters. 

Orcas know how to deal with humans. But there is a doubt humans’ gratitude. Are we fulfilling our responsibility to save the orcas?

Why Do Orcas Attack Humans In Captivity?

The main reason is aggravation. As we know, it is harder to aggravate wild orcas. But this can differ from orcas living in captivity

Naturally, they are love to live with their family and friends. Also, orcas like to swim large distances. There are no limits in the ocean for them. 

However, in captivity, they have to live in locked small tanks. Further trainers force them to do many activities. 

As a result, these animals do not have the proper mentality. These activities affect their mental health badly.

As humans, we bother them so much for our entertainment purpose.  So, can we expect a good response from them? 

What Do Orcas Eat?

Orcas live globally and have diverse diets due to the ecosystem where they live. But researchers find out that more than 140 species have become the prey of worldwide Orcas. 

Here I listed out some of them. 

  • Bony fish 
  • Sharks
  • Rays 
  • Seals 
  • Sea birds
  • Whale species 
  • Moose 
  • Dugongs
  • Penguins
  • Leatherback sea turtles 
  • Other marine animals 

Do Orcas Attack Whales?

Yes, they do attack other whales. Typically, orcas have the ability to grow up to about 30 feet. Also, they will tend to attack smaller whales. 

Most probably, orcas attack and kill humpback whales, grey whale sea lions, and great white sharks. 

Do orcas attack sharks?

Yes, they attack some shark species, including great white sharks. 

Do Orcas Attack Dolphins?

Yes, orcas or killer whales can and do attack and kill dolphins. Orcas are hunting very fast. So, dolphins are not able to save their life from orcas.

Credit to: Inspire Animals
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About Dr.Chamika

Hello, I'm Dr. Chamika. I am a Researcher in Water quality, Aquatic organisms, and Environmental chemistry. I am a passionate fish keeper, with10 years of experience. My mission is to help other aquarists experience the joy of fish keeping.