Where Do Orcas Live?


Quick Answer

Orcas, or killer whales live in oceans all over the world. They can be found from the Arctic ocean down to the Southern Ocean around Antarctica. However, they prefer colder waters near the coasts.

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Full Answer

Some pods, or family groups of orcas, are residents and others are transient, which means they travel between locations frequently. Biologists find that the resident whales prey on fish, while the transient pods eat marine mammals such as seals and even other whales.

Most orcas seem to live in the northeastern part of the Atlantic Ocean and the northern Pacific Ocean as well as the waters just off Antarctica. They've also been found in the waters off Japan and Russia and even in the Mediterranean and Arabian Seas. Some orcas have been found in freshwater rivers in North America and Japan.

Orcas who prey on marine mammals congregate in oceans where there are seasonal ice floes because this is where the animals they eat are most abundant. Near the Antarctic, the orcas can find Weddell seals, penguins and southern populations of walruses. In the Arctic they hunt beluga whales, sea lions, harbour and stellar seals and walruses. Orcas hunt cooperatively and sometimes ram ice floes to knock their prey into the water.

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