Four killer whales have been recently spotted while they were eating a shark alive in the waters of Monterey Bay. These orcas are known as offshore killer whales, and they have rarely been seen hunting or eating.
Slater Moore, the drone pilot who filmed the whole scene, said that there were two females and two calves feeding on the shark. In addition, the shark appeared to be still alive while the four orcas were feasting on it.
“And all of a sudden one of them brought it up, brought up the whole shark – and it was still alive, it was squirming around,” said Katlyn Taylor, one of the crew members and a marine biologist.
Taylor added that the shark looked like a sevengill shark. These animals can grow ten feet long, but the one eaten by the four killer whales was most likely five feet and bigger than the two calves.
Marine biologists explain that catching this type of orcas eating is extremely difficult because these animals feed on squids, sharks, and other fish, so they hunt underwater most of the time where they cannot be spotted.
In other words, the scientists were not surprised to see the killer whales eating a shark. Instead, they didn’t expect to see the orcas feeding at the water surface. Marine biologists have previously seen dead orcas washed ashore with shark bites on their carcasses.
Also, their teeth are usually damaged because the shark skin is difficult to chew. The offshore orcas are seen just once a year in Monterey Bay. Scientists don’t know what these enigmatic animals are doing in the meantime, but they spotted the orcas several times between southern California and Alaska.
The orcas usually observed in Monterey Bay are the transient killer whales. These animals usually hunt other mammals. Marine biologists underline that offshore and transient killer whales don’t interbreed and don’t hunt the same prey, although they are closely related.
Taylor confesses that studying offshore killer whales is quite challenging because they are capable of holding their breath for a long time. Plus, they travel long distances and swim fast. However, scientists are doing their best to find out more about these elusive animals.