Are Orcas More Dangerous Than Sharks?

are orcas more dangerous than sharks

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Sharks are widely considered to be some of the most dangerous animals in our oceans, with species such as the bull shark and great white racking up human deaths every year.

Orcas on the other hand are known as the apex predators of the ocean and dominate by working together to hunt even the largest prey.

They use their supreme intelligence to come up with techniques to outwit their prey and catch them off-guard in all types of situations.

But which is more dangerous? Are orcas more dangerous than sharks?

That’s what we’re going to find out in this post, so stick around to learn more about the apex predator of the ocean and the most feared animal on earth.

Are Orcas More Dangerous Than Sharks?

Without beating around the bush, Orcas are NOT more dangerous than sharks, and in fact, there is no record of an orca killing a human in the wild.

This speaks volumes about how intelligent orcas really are. They are well aware that we’re not on their menu and for that reason are generally not a threat to humans.

Whilst an orca could easily kill a human, we wouldn’t make a great meal for them as we’re essentially very little flesh and a lot of bone.

are orcas more dangerous than sharks
Photo by Tim Cole on Unsplash

Gross, I know!

Sharks on the other hand are dangerous to humans, especially species such as the great shite and bull shark that attack humans every year.

Whilst many attacks are down to misidentification, they still happen and therefore sharks are more dangerous than orcas.

Are Orcas Dangerous To Humans?

The orca’s appearance may look menacing, but these animals are not dangerous to humans when in the wild as we’re not part of their natural diet.

There have been some instances while orcas are in captivity in places like SeaWorld, but that’s for a different post.

Orcas in the wild typically feed on fish including herring and mackerel, seals, sea lions, penguins, and other mammals.

They’re certainly not interested in humans, so if you are lucky to encounter an orca in the wild, try not to be afraid.

Enjoy the experience as it’s one that not every human gets to witness during their lifetime.

Are Sharks Dangerous To Humans?

Most sharks are typically not dangerous to humans, but there are some species that are responsible for human deaths and therefore are much more dangerous.

Bull sharks are the most aggressive species and alongside the great white shark, they are the most likely to attack humans.

Shark attacks are rare and often occur due to misidentification at dusk or dawn when there isn’t much light for the sharks to see.

Whilst these animals have excellent vision when lighting conditions are optimal, in low-light situations their vision reduces drastically.

This is when shark attacks occur, but rest assured that only a handful of the 300-plus shark species have been involved in attacks on humans.

Sharks would much rather feed on fish and marine mammals as opposed to humans, which is why after they bite a human, they realize that this is not their intended prey and do not continue chomping.

This is why many shark attacks are not fatal, but due to the shark’s razor-sharp teeth, they still inflict an immense amount of damage.

Which Is Top Predator?

Without a doubt, orcas are the top predators of the ocean, and for very good reasons. These animals are fast, highly intelligent, and work as a team to secure their prey.

Killer whales have no natural predators which puts them at the top of the food chain, much like wolves on land.

They dominate the oceans by force and will take down even the largest animals on earth, including blue whale calves.

Adult blue whales are the only animals large enough to shrug off an orca attack, simply due to their size and immense power.

Whilst there is much more fear around sharks due to Hollywood films like JAWS, orcas are much more formidable and can make quick work of anything that crosses their path.

Killer whales can be as large as 32 feet in length and weigh up to 22,000 pounds of pure muscle!

Combine this power with large, sharp teeth that are strong enough to crush bone as well as serious brain power and you’ve got yourself an apex predator.

Do Orcas Kill Sharks?

There is no denying that sharks are scary, especially species like bull sharks, mako sharks, and great whites.

They have a menacing look and are equipped with incredibly sharp teeth, not to mention their notorious reputation.

But did you know that orcas actively hunt and kill sharks, even the great white sharks?

Orcas kill sharks for their fatty liver which provides a range of nutrients and vitamins as well as a satisfying meal.

orcas spy hopping
Photo by Bryan Goff on Unsplash

There can be thousands of calories in the liver alone, so orcas will work together to hunt great white sharks simply to eat their liver.

They tear the shark apart leaving everything aside from their liver! Orcas are the only known predators of great white sharks, which speaks for itself about how powerful orcas really are.

Final Thoughts

Orcas are the apex predators of the ocean thanks to their intelligence and ability to work together as a pod to bring down prey.

The success rates of orca hunts can be as high as 1/3, but in some areas such as Antarctica, it can be a lot higher.

Their hunting strategies are some of the most impressive in the natural world, they use techniques such as spy-hopping and herding to increase their chances of success.

So, are orcas more dangerous than sharks? No, surprisingly not. Orcas are not dangerous to humans as they are intelligent enough to realize that we are not prey for them.

Many people swim with orcas in Norway and have amazing experiences with these top predators and live to tell the tale.

There’s really no need to be afraid of orcas in the wild, and whilst they certainly could kill a human if they desired, they never do.

If you’re ever lucky enough to witness these amazing animals in the wild, cherish every second as it’s one that will stay with you forever.

Sharks on the other hand, now they can be dangerous, so don’t stick around long if you find yourself in shark-infested waters.