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05-10-1999, 07:24 AM
Why don't wild orcas (a.k.a. killer whales) attack and eat divers? They eat fish, dolphins, seals, whales... pretty much whatever they catch. But I've only heard of one attack (in the wild), and the whale just mouthed the guy and spit him out without seriously injuring him. They're freindly in captivity (usually), but they get plenty to eat there and even the ones that hurt people seem to be motivated by agression as oppossed to any hunting instinct.
Why don't they try to eat people? Do we really taste that bad?

05-10-1999, 11:50 AM
You seem to be asking why we don't hear about orca attacks as much as, say, shark attacks. A few observations:

1) There are more sharks in the ocean than orcas.

2) Orcas tend to inhabit colder climates, where very few people swim. A shark in Southern California waters has countless surfers and swimmers to feast upon. An orca in Puget sound isn't going to have as full a plate.

3) Humans aren't ordinary prey for any sea animals. From below a surfer or swimmer on the surface can be mistaken for a sea lion. This is probably the reason for most shark attacks (sharks attack from below). Orcas, on the other hand, attack on the surface and are less likely to mistake a person for a sea mammal.

4) Death by animal predation is extremely rare whether at sea or elsewhere.

05-10-1999, 05:32 PM
Also you don't hear about it as much because the orcas are intelligent and evil. They know better than to leave witnesses. Their agents in the Sea Parks of the world, and the _Free Willy_ movies they financed (with recovered sunken pirate gold [don't ask too loudly how some of those ships sank]) are part of their plot to lull us into a false sense of security. As soon as enough people believe that "Killer Whales" are harmless and friendly they will close their trap. I think the dolphins have an involvement in this, for revenge for the tuna industry...

{time to take off the ol' tin-foil hat}


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Dr. Fidelius, Charlatan
Associate Curator Anomalous Paleontology, Miskatonic University
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05-11-1999, 12:00 AM
Read Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage (by Alfred Lansing) about Sir Ernest Shackleton's antarctic misadventure. While drifting on ice floes for several months the crew was forced to fight off orcas several times when they were mistaken for seals. Apparently the orcas would propel themselves up onto the ice such that crew members would have to make a run for it to avoid being eaten. Yikes!

05-12-1999, 08:56 AM
I hear that killer whales don't eat people because they taste like chicken.

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05-12-1999, 11:57 AM
Nah...Humans taste like pork. And Killer whales are Kosher. :P

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05-13-1999, 12:38 AM
I don't know about humans tasting bad. I just keep remembering a Far Side cartoon that had two alligators sunning themselves amidst the wreckage of a canoe.

One of them is patting itself on the stomach, and it says "Man, that was great. No hooves, no horns or claws. Just all soft and pink."

05-13-1999, 06:17 AM
According to a Marine Biologist I know who works at a seaquarium on Maui, we (humans) taste bad. That is why a majority of people live through shark attacks with a single bite to mark the occasion. The shark takes one bite, presumably because it mistakes a human on a surfboard for a seal, and thinks it is the worst thing he's ever tasted and doesn't come back for seconds. I don't know why a Killer Whale wouldn't make the same mistake... Possibly for the reasons stated (we don't swim very much in arctic waters) or that they are smarter than sharks and have a better grasp on what they are about to take a chunk out of. I will see if I can find out for sure about Kwhales...

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Like the man says; don't take life too seriously, you'll never get out of it alive -- Bugs Bunny

05-25-1999, 03:51 AM
Did a marine biologist really tell you that we taste bad? I believe this is really just a hypothesis that has been advanced to account for one-bite shark attacks, but there is no evidence to support it. In fact, it is unlikely that sharks, which have been around for millions of years without evolving much, have adapted their behavior to the relatively recent appearance of human swimmers in the water.

More likely, this is just part of a shark's normal instinctive behavior: bite, swim away, circle around, and attack again after the creature has weakened from bleeding. If you're a human being with the wherewithall to climb back into the boat or get yourself to shore, you have a shot at surviving.

Markxxx
08-30-1999, 03:02 AM
CFQ you are correct. That is exactly how sharks kill. They take one bite and wait for the victim to bleed to death.

Most everyone else's comments are pretty accurate too. Orca's have been know to attack men on ice floats and attacks by wild animals on humans are not as common as believed.

Sam Stone
08-30-1999, 07:35 AM
Probably the main reason - Orcas inhabit deep water, and humans in the ocean are almost always in shallow water. The vast majority of shark attacks occur in pretty shallow water.

dasmoocher
08-30-1999, 06:04 PM
dhanson-I don't think I would agree with that[orcas in deep water]. I've seen plenty of video of orcas plucking seals off the beach. Imagine what a resort beach filled with wading humans would seem like, although they seem to prefer cold water where people don't swim. I would think that they're smart enough to know humans aren't a natural food source.

08-31-1999, 12:05 AM
There was one nominee for the Darwin award at SeaWorld Orlando earlier this summer IIRC. It is believed that he hid out in a bathroom, & then did the "free" version of the Swim With Shamu program. They found his body the next morning uneaten.

Heard this on a morning radio show, so I can't swear it's not UL...

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Sue from El Paso
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Sam Stone
08-31-1999, 01:47 AM
Are you sure you saw Orcas pulling seals off of a beach, or did they pull them off of rocks? Plucking a seal off of a beach would mean the Orca would have to skid itself up a long stretch of sand less than 3 feet deep.

Rocky shorelines often have deep water immediately off the shore. Your typical beach (especially one where humans hang out) has a gradually sloping surface that stays very shallow for a long way out.

JimFox
08-31-1999, 03:22 AM
Great Whites are here in Marin County. Great White capital of the world. Their Mode of Operandus is to take 1 big bite out of their prey and let them bleed to death. See my WEB site www.cyberthings.com/sharks (http://www.cyberthings.com/sharks)

Therealbubba
08-31-1999, 08:43 AM
The guy that died in the tank in Orlando presumably drowned. There was no blunt trauma found on him. SeaWorld keeps that tank at about 50 degrees and the guy was very drunk. Between the hypothermia and the alcohol, he was doomed. His body was found on the orca's back. The whale (aren't they really a species of dolphin?) thought he was a new toy.

Oblio
08-31-1999, 11:05 AM
Are you sure you saw Orcas pulling seals off of a beach, or did they pull them off of rocks? Plucking a seal off of a beach would mean the Orca would have to skid itself up a long stretch of sand less than 3 feet deep.

The Orcas did pull the seal pups off a sloping beach. As IRC these particular Orcas are a small group that exhibit this predation technique and time their visits to coinside <sp?> with the pups swimming lessons. It is amazing to watch them rush up the surf line, grap a pup and flop themselves with pup in mouth back to deeper water. Often they will play with the pup like a cat to a mouse, prior to consuming it. To really make you hate the Orcas, the cameraman would tape the mothers watching and wailing. Makes you glad to be a apex predator :)

Oblio

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dasmoocher
08-31-1999, 07:55 PM
dhanson-as others have posted, it wasn't a rock drop off. IIRC, it was in Patagonia. Stephon/Oblio-yeah, I thought it was pretty impressive too, watching the orca barrel into the shore. Glad it wasn't me he was after. I've seen this video on the Discovery Channel a few times. Has any body seen the orca vs. Great White video shot off California? Hard to tell what going on, but supposedly the orca kicked the shark's ass. Maybe it was too big for the shark...or too smart.

Stephen
08-31-1999, 08:13 PM
Has any body seen the orca vs. Great White video shot off California? Hard to tell what going on, but supposedly the orca kicked the shark's ass. Maybe it was too big for the shark...or too smart.

Unless an orca is sick, it won't have any problem with sharks. They can (literally) swim circles around just about anything in the ocean (excepting dolphins, of course).

Stephen
08-31-1999, 08:13 PM
Has any body seen the orca vs. Great White video shot off California? Hard to tell what going on, but supposedly the orca kicked the shark's ass. Maybe it was too big for the shark...or too smart.

Unless an orca is sick, it won't have any problem with sharks. They can (literally) swim circles around just about anything in the ocean (excepting dolphins, of course).

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Stephen
Stephen's Website (http://stephen.fathom.org)
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JimFox
08-31-1999, 11:41 PM
I hear a porpus (sic) can kick a Great Whites butt.

Stephen
09-01-1999, 12:06 AM
Are you sure you saw Orcas pulling seals off of a beach, or did they pull them off of rocks? Plucking a seal off of a beach would mean the Orca would have to skid itself up a long stretch of sand less than 3 feet deep.
Rocky shorelines often have deep water immediately off the shore. Your typical beach (especially one where humans hang out) has a gradually sloping surface that stays very shallow for a long way out.

I wish I had tape rolling on one special. The killer whale came rushing up on shore at full speed (it looked like a H/K submarine surfacing at full blow). It grabbed a seal pup, tossed it into the air to get a better bite and then struggled mightily to get back into the water (it was 90% 'beached')

The guy that died in the tank in Orlando presumably drowned. There was no blunt trauma found on him. SeaWorld keeps that tank at about 50 degrees and the guy was very drunk. Between the hypothermia and the alcohol, he was doomed. His body was found on the orca's back. The whale (aren't they really a species of dolphin?) thought he was a new toy.

The rumor going around Seaworld is that they found the guy's testicles, trunks and wrist watch at the bottom of the pool. The newsies initially reported that there were no bite marks, but after a few days, they mentioned that there was indeed a bite (and I quote) "to the front of his lower torso" (end quote).


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Stephen
http://stephen.fathom.org
Satellite Hunting 1.1.0 visible satellite pass prediction shareware available for download at
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09-01-1999, 01:07 AM
Stephon-I'm not sure I understand the point of your reply. I thought it was clear that the orca had the advantage (over the gw shark)


[Note: This message has been edited by Nickrz]

Markxxx
09-01-1999, 02:03 AM
Orca (AKA Killer Whales) are a type of dolphin. BUT remember dolphins are also a type of whale.

But lately it has been discovered dollphins aren't as peace loving as they once were thought to be.

Yes Orcas most of the time don't have trouble with Great Whites, but Orcas aren't stupid either. They aren't going to attack a shark when the ocean usually has a lot more prey that won't put up as much a fight.

Mazey
09-01-1999, 09:05 AM
Getting back to the original question, when visiting Alaska some years back, I heard an Indian legend that related an intelligence recognition between man and the Orca. The Orca, upon recognizing man's intelligence, vowed never to eat man again...or something to that effect. I'd far rather think they didn't eat man because he's intelligent instead of being in poor taste. :)

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Stephen
09-01-1999, 10:41 AM
Stephon-I'm not sure I understand the point of your reply. I thought it was clear that the orca had the advantage (over the gw shark).

You had said that perhaps the orca was too big, or too smart. I was pointing out, that if it was tangling with the shark in the first place, it was either due to poor health, or by choice, since a few quick flicks of the fluke could put it half an ocean away.

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Stephen
Stephen's Website (http://stephen.fathom.org)
Satellite Hunting 1.1.0 visible satellite pass prediction
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Damien
09-01-1999, 03:09 PM
I think the main reason Killer Whales aren't commonly known to eat people is the same reason they aren't know for eating Lambs. Lack of availability of Mint Jelly in the ocean.

-Damien

dasmoocher
09-02-1999, 05:30 PM
stephen-I see what you are saying. I was thinking more along the lines of: since the shark appeared to be a juvenile, maybe the orca was getting rid of the "competition", so to speak, because both species feed on seals and sea lions. Getting back to the OP, there's a case of almost the opposite behavior. One of those Discovery Channel shows on orcas had a piece about a pod of orcas that "tried to help" (for lack of a better term) a diver in distress. A husband and wife research team had been studying this pod for years in Alaska. The husband dived to observe them on a regular basis. On one dive something went wrong (maybe with his regulator) and he drowned. The wife, who remained in the boat, had no idea anything was wrong until the whales started to act agitated. The show, I think, wants to give the impression that the whales were familiar with the diver, knew something was wrong, and tried to communicate this to the dive boat.