K is for Killer Whale
The killer whale is a toothed whale that lives in small, close knit pods that consist of 4 to 60 whales. These animals are mammals. They have one blow hole and belong to the family of dolphins, of which they are the largest. Killer whales grow to approximately 27¬33 feet in length and weigh from 8,000 to 12,000 pounds. The males are larger than the females. Killer whales have mostly black skin with characteristic white patches. They have rounded heads and a tall sickle shaped dorsal fin with large paddle-like flippers.
Killer whales live in tropical and arctic waters as well as in coastal deep waters. They live in most of the oceans and seas.
The killer whale diet is very diverse as they eat fish, squids, sharks, marine mammals such as whales and seals, turtles and young blue whales. Killer whales usually hunt with the members of their respective pods.
The killer whales usually breed in winter to early spring. The gestation period in this species is 6-17 months. The calf is born tail first near the surface in warm waters. The newborn usually measures 6'12-8 feet in length and weighs about 400 pounds. The calf is nurtured with the mother's milk and stays close to its mother for about a year or. longer. The females usually mature between the ages of 6-10 years while males mature between the ages of 12-16 years.
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