Orcas – Killers in the Ocean

Genesis 1:20a

“And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life.”

There are some animals seemingly designed to instill fear into people. Lions and tigers, close up, would be examples. So would alligators and crocodiles. In the ocean, the great white shark is a bringer of fear. And another such animal would be the killer whale.

Orcas, as they are often known, are large black and white toothed whales. They are members of the dolphin family, so we could describe them as the world’s largest dolphins. But their reputation is as killers because they are so large and have such long teeth. Yet, although there are some reports of orcas killing humans, that is not their typical reaction. When I was a child, it was common for aquariums to have a killer whale to do dolphin-like tricks, though this practice seems to be dying out, with reduced popularity today.

Killer whales hunt in packs as if they were giant sea wolves. A group will surround their target, which could be fish, cephalopods, seals or sea turtles. They are even also known to eat other members of the dolphin family.

It has sometimes been supposed that there are hybrids between killer whales and other dolphins. As far as we know, at present, this is not the case – the so-called wolphin hybrid is the offspring of a female bottle-nosed dolphin and the so-called false killer whale. So whether or not orcas and dolphins are in the same biblical kind is not possible to determine at the moment.