7 Facts about False Killer Whales

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The world’s fourth-largest dolphin is a different species than the better-known killer whale, but false killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens) also attack and kill other marine mammals. Here are 7 facts about them:

1. The false killer whale is black with a gray throat and neck. It has a slender body with an elongated, tapered head and 44 teeth.

2. Females can reach 17 feet and weigh 2,600 pounds, while the largest males can reach 20 feet and weigh 4,900 pounds.

3. Their most common habitat is the open ocean, though they also frequent other areas.

4. The false killer whale was first described by the British paleontologist and biologist Richard Owen in his 1846 book A History of British Fossil Mammals and Birds. He based this work on a fossil discovered in 1843.

5. On January 14, 2017, 95 false killer whales beached themselves on a remote mangrove beach in mainland Monroe County, Florida, in the western Everglades National Park; 82 either died or had to be euthanized. The others disappeared during the night. This was the largest stranding of false killer whales in recorded Florida history.

6. In 2012, the United States’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recognized the Hawaiian population of false killer whales, which numbers around 150 individuals, as endangered.

7. In 2004, a female whale-dolphin mix dubbed a “wholpin” — gave birth to a female calf named Kawili Kai at Sea Life Park Hawaii. Kekaimalu, the wholpin mother (her name means “from the peaceful ocean”), was born May 15, 1985, after a 14-foot, 2,000-pound false killer whale and a 6-foot, 400-pound dolphin mated. Kekaimalu had previously given birth to a daughter named Pohaikealoha, but she died at age 9. Both Kekaimalu and Kawili Kai remain in captivity at Sea Life Park.

Source: Sport Diver

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