orcas are dolphins

Fun animal facts I have learned being a zoo docent

1. There are several ways to classify the large cats, one of the more useful ones is into the roaring cats (tigers, lions) and the purring cats (bobcats, lynxes). The puma (also known as the mountain lion) is the largest cat that purrs. I’ve heard it up close, it’s amazing. A cheetah’s purr sounds like an idling motorcycle engine.

2. Kangaroos cannot move their legs independently of each other, they have to move them in sync - when they’re on land. When they’re swimming, they can move them separately. Hopping is their most efficient way to move - a walking kangaroo is super awkward. They swing both legs forward using their tail as a third leg to prop up while their legs swing.

3. People often think that flamingoes’ knees bend the wrong way. They don’t - the joint you’re seeing in the middle of their leg isn’t their knee, it’s their ankle. Their knee is up by their body, and it bends the same way ours does.

4. Giraffes only sleep 1-2 hours a day.

5. Bald eagles’ vocalizations are not what you expect. When you see a flying bald eagle in the movies and hear that majestic caw sound? That isn’t an eagle, it’s been dubbed over with another bird, usually a red-tailed hawk. Bald eagles actually sound…not majestic. Kind of like if a kitten could be a bird.

6. Elephants are one of only a handful of animals that can pass the mirror test - in other words, they can recognize their own reflection (and not think it’s another animal, as dogs and cats usually do). They tested this by placing a chalk mark on an elephant’s forehead and then showing it a mirror. The elephant investigated the mark on its own forehead, indicating it knew that it was looking at itself.  The only animals that pass this test are the higher primates, the higher cetaceans (orcas, dolphins), elephants, and corvids (ravens, magpies, etc).

7. One-fifth of all the known mammal species are bats. [Edit: I’ve now seen several versions of this proportion, ranging from a third to a fifth. Regardless, it’s a huge bat percentage]

8. A kangaroo mother can have three joeys simultaneously at different stages of development: an embryo in her womb (kangaroos can do what’s called embryonic diapause which means sort of putting the development on pause until she’s ready for it to develop further), a joey in her pouch attached to one nipple, and a joey out of the pouch on the ground who nurses from the other one. The amazing thing? Each of her nipples make different formulations of milk for each joey’s different nutritional needs.

9. Bonobos, our closest genetic relative, are almost entirely non-aggressive, matriarchal, and use sex to solve all their problems. They engage in both same and opposite sex interactions, non-penetrative sex (oral, rubbing, manual) and with any age. That can be a very interesting area to work in.

10. Tortoises have super loud sex. Like, really loud.

11. All grizzlies are brown bears, but not all brown bears are grizzlies (grizzlies are a sub-categorization of the brown bear).

12. Reindeer are the only deer species where both males and females grow antlers. The males shed theirs the beginning of December, the females shed theirs in the spring. So all of Santa’s reindeer are girls, heh. I love telling little kids that.

13. If a rhinoceros knocks off its horn, it grows back faster than you’d expect. One of ours has knocked hers off twice.

14. Gorillas get crushes on each other. Sometimes it’s like a soap opera up in there.

15. Langur monkeys are silvery-gray in color - their babies are bright orange. Like Cheeto orange, I do not exaggerate.

16. Polar bear fur is not white, it’s transparent, like fiber optics. Also, their skin is black.

10 Reasons Why Orca Whales Should NOT be at Seaworld (Or Any Marine Park)

  1. In the wild, orcas swim up to 100 miles a day. They are confined into a small tank in captivity. 
  2. Their collapsed dorsal fins (pictured above) are a sign of an unhealthy whale. All male orcas in captivity have a collapsed dorsal fin. Less than 1% of orcas have this condition in the wild.
  3. Orcas do not live up to their nickname “killer whale”. There has not been one incident of an orca killing a human in the wild. However, in captivity, orcas have killed 3 humans and injured 151 reported injury incidences.
  4. On average, orcas live up to 50 years old in the wild. Some females have been reported to live 80-100 years old. Seaworld’s average orca life span is 13 years old.
  5. Family is important to orcas. In the wild, their pods include generations upon generations of their family. Marine parks do not keep their families together. In fact, babies are taken from their mothers. This is psychologically traumatizing to the whales. 
  6. Whale fights are common in the tanks because they are not in their pods and they are, literally, mentally ill. In a tank, whales can’t flee from fights like they can in the wild. These whales get brutally injured and sometimes killed by other whales in the tank.
  7. Pods have their own languages. In a tank with other whales who have different languages. Imagine living with somebody who speaks a different language with you and you cannot use hand motions. Frustrating right?
  8. Not only are the tanks in marine parks WAY too small for this wild animal, in the wild, marine mammals live in a habitat full of MANY other marine plants and animals. In captivity, they live in a cement, chlorinated tank.
  9. Since 1961, 141 whales have been captured. 125 of these whales have died.
  10. The brain of an orca is 4 times larger than the human brain. It has been confirmed their intelligence matches to ours, if not more.

Just imagine living in cement room with a few other people who don’t speak your language. Imagine not knowing if you will ever see your family again. Imagine being forced to do performances for others and being fed one thing for the rest of your life. Imagine being confined in a cement room when there is a whole world out there to explore.

So, how can you help? It’s easy! boycott sea world. Without the revenue, they are forced to shut down their business. Also, education is important. Remind the public of what is going on. 

10 Interesting Facts About Orca or Killer Whales

1 >> Killer whale or orcas are not actually whales. They are oversized dolphins.

2 >> An Orca can only half sleeps with one eye open. Only one half of its brain goes to sleep while other parts remain awake. That’s why one eye remains closed and another opened. It is because, it has to come to surface often to breath air.

3 >> A ,other orca guides her young until it becomes capable enough to gather its own food.It protects and teaches the baby for a considerable amount of time.

4 >> Orcas live in large groups which are called as pods. Some pods can have more than hundred members.

5 >> A killer whale can live more than 100 years !!

6 >> Wild orcas never attack humans. There is no record till date.

7 >> Killer whales can talk to each other by using their own language! Yes, they can “talk” to each other.

8 >> Killer whales or orcas can’t breath from water like a fish. So, they have to come to the surface often to fill its lungs with air.

9 >> Orcas are one of the smartest animals on earth excluding humans. Some people believe that lack of hands has prevented them to become as intelligent or more than humans.

10 >> Orcas have their own “cultures” that passes from one generation to another in the pod. Their culture consists of language, hunting techniques, courtship rituals, training of the young etc.