When you think of the orca, also known as the killer whale, your mind goes to the apex predator of the ocean. Orcas are said to be the apex predators in the marine world. They are the largest members of the dolphin family. The orca’s diet includes a wide range of marine animals like seals, sea lions, whales, fish, squid, and seabirds. However, one question most marine enthusiasts ask is, “If orcas are truly the ocean’s apex predators”, do they also eat polar bears?
The answer is no! Orcas don’t eat polar bears. Up until now, there has been no evidence to show that orcas hunt, kill, or eat polar bears. Polar bears are not on the menu of orcas, so they don’t go about hunting them.
To get more clarity on the reason for this, we have to understand the behavior, natural range, and habitat of both orcas and polar bears.
Do orcas encounter polar bears in the wild?
Orcas are highly intelligent and adaptive. Both the orca and the polar bear are found in the Arctic; they both hunt seals and whales in the Arctic.
This was not the case before the climate-change issues. The Arctic, where polar bears are exclusively found, used to be completely covered with ice most time of the year, so orcas rarely went there in search of food.
However, due to global warming, the ice caps in the Arctic regions are rapidly melting, and orcas are frequently visiting the Arctic in search of prey.
Similarly, because of the rapid melting of ice, polar bears now spend more time in the water. As snowy areas begin to melt, ice caps turn into open seas. Polar bears now have to navigate through the water more often as they swim from one icy platform to the next.
Orcas do not move on land, but on rare occasions, they could be found stuck in the ice or on land while hunting. Polar bears, on the other hand, move both on land and in water. It means that the most likely chance of these two predators chance meeting is on water.
Why orcas don’t eat polar bears.
Since it has been established that orcas don’t attack or eat humans in the wild, we can infer that they don’t go about attacking other creatures that are not on their diet list.
Similarly, polar bears can’t even form a stable food source for orcas since they’re not always in the water. I doubt orcas would want to make a diet out of what isn’t always available to them.
Polar bears also do not bother orcas or their calves, so orcas wouldn’t be bothered by their presence.
In summary, orcas are not opportunistic feeders. They stick to their staple diet.
Who Would Win Orca vs Polar Bear?
If the orca and polar bear were to be placed side by side for a fight, the winner would be determined by the environment.
Since the orca isn’t terrestrial, the perfect meeting point would be in water, and this is more likely in the wild. If this happens to be the case, then the orcas will win the fight.
However, if there is a situation where a polar bear meets an orca that is trapped on an ice cap, the polar bear may gain the upper hand.
Polar bears are very solitary animals. They roam thousands of kilometers in search of food throughout the Arctic, whereas orcas dwell in large family pods.
A pod of orcas normally has five to thirty members, but it can have up to 100 members in exceptional situations.
While polar bears are quite powerful in the water and can easily defeat their prey, they would be unable to do so against an adult orca.
Orcas can grow to be 30 feet long and weigh up to 16,000 pounds, with one of the smartest brains in the animal kingdom.
If this fight ever occurs, I will bet on the orca.
What animal can kill an orca?
Orcas are at the top of the food chain, which means they have no natural predators, earning them the title of an apex predator.
Orcas are among the largest and most powerful animals in the water; no other species can compete with them.
These animals collaborate to take down the largest animal ever to exist, the blue whale, making them virtually untouchable.