The name Killer Whale is pretty menacing, but the animal really is not—at least when it comes to human beings. Killer whales, also known as orcas, eat fish and marine mammals, just like sharks or many other species of whale. Though orcas kill a lot of animals to survive, it shouldn’t be a surprise—after all, an average-sized orca needs 550 pounds of food per day. Though there have been instances of trainers being harmed by killer whales in captivity, there is no recorded instance of a killer whale attacking a human in the wild.
Killer whales are very intelligent, and hunt in methodical ways in pods. They will eat anything they can catch, including mammals like seals and walruses, and even large sharks. Some authorities claim that killer whales will attack small blue whales, which are much larger.
Male orcas have a life span of about 50 years, females nearly twice as long, during which time they stay in their tight-knot pod. Pod members will fiercely protect the young, sick, or injured.
Orcas worldwide are faring pretty well compared to other whale species. Their only predator is man, and orcas have no real commercial value outside of use in aquariums.