Even for seasoned orcas, adult blue whales are largely off the menu – but that doesn't stop the apt hunters from having a go at their much larger kin. 


This clash of cetaceans was filmed in California's Monterey Bay, the same coastal hub where we watched a pod of orcas feast on a grey whale recently. 

"Although humpbacks stand up to killer whales and trumpet blow at them, blue whales are easily startled and flee the scene!" explains the team at Monterey Bay Whale Watch, who uploaded the drone footage to their Facebook page this week. 

The blue whale could be seen "porpoising away, swimming at full speed out of the water," the team adds.

Monterey Bay hosts Biggs (previously known as "transient") orcas, a group that specialises in hunting marine mammals. Despite those predatory skills, however, the blue whale wasn't in much danger here. We are, after all, talking about the largest animals on the planet, which can grow to a mind-boggling 110 feet in length. And even newborn calves weigh in at several tonnes. 

An orca charge of this nature has been observed only once before in the bay. That encounter involved a juvenile blue whale, and the youngster still managed to thwart its attackers with a powerful tail throw. 

"Some of our blue whales do have killer whale tooth rakes on them," says the team. "Especially on their flukes, pectoral flippers and dorsal fins. Blue whale attacks have been documented in Mexican waters, but we have not documented any killer whale attacks on adult whales – except for minke whales, which are our smallest baleen whale in the Northern Hemisphere."



Top header image: Dave Govoni/Flickr