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Boaters capture pulse-pounding video of orcas battling sperm whales

Published Mar 27th, 2024 2:37PM EDT
Orcas in the water, orcas attacking boats, sinking them off coast of Europe
Image: Richard / Adobe

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A group of tourists in Australia have captured rare footage of two “titans of the sea” clashing against each other. The video showcases how a pod of orcas chases down and attacks a group of sperm whales. It’s something we don’t see happen often, and it builds on strange orca attacks that have been happening over the past several months.

Previously, we’d even see orcas attacking boats off the coast, something that has sparked some serious questions about the state of this particular whale’s habitat. What’s even more intriguing is that one particular orca appeared to be teaching others to do the same thing. You can see a video of one of the previous attacks in the footage below.

Now, with this latest video, it seems that the orcas have turned their violent tendencies toward another ocean creature. The video, which was shared on Naturaliste Charters’ Facebook, showcases the pod of orcas hovering around the group of sperm whales after chasing them into shallow waters. This orca attack was unexpected, the tourist company says.

Writing in a post on Facebook, the company says that many of them assumed that the prey the orcas were chasing was likely a beaked whale, as those are often on the menu for Bremer orcas like those captured in the video. However, as they drew closer to the orca’s attack, they realized the group was actually made up of several sperm whales, including one smaller one believed to be a juvenile.

As the fight escalated, the company says that they saw a dark bubble of reddish brown appear in the water, and then one of the orcas rose up out of the water with a chunk of meat in its jaws. Soon after, the orcas called off their attack and retreated.

Fortunately, the company says it does not believe that any of the sperm whales were actually taken down. Instead, they believe the chunk of meat may have been a squid or something else taken from the sperm whales, possibly even regurgitated to help drive off the orcas.

As for the dark bubble, they now believe it was likely feces, as sperm whales have been known to release their bowels in attempts to drive off predators. In this case, it seems to have worked.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.