Pygmy Killer Whale
Whale Watching South Africa

© © James Watt

Name : Pygmy Killer Whale
Scientific Name : Feresa attenuata
Class : Mammalia
Family : Delphinidae
Order : Cetacea , suborder - Odontoceti
Shape : The Pygmy Killer Whale has a slender body, with a laterally compressed and somewhat stocky posterior half. The rounded head has a convex, elongated profile, with an upper jaw that is longer than the lower, and without a snout. Each side of the upper jaw has 8 to 12 teeth, while there are 10 to 13 on each side of the lower jaw.
Fins : The dorsal fin is median, falcate or triangular, and high. The long, wide-based flippers can measure up to 20 or 23 percent of the total body length, and the flukes have a median slit.
Length : The males measure an average of 2.30 - 2.75 metres, and the female measures 2.13 - 2.40 metres. Newborns measure 50 to 85 cm.
Weight : The adult male's average weight is between 170 - 225 kg, and the female between 150 - 200 kg.
Colour : These animals are black or grey, with flanks that are often lighter. There is a lighter ventral area between the pectoral fins and a long white mark running from the stomach to the anal region. The lips are white.
Diet : Since this whale has demonstrated aggressive behaviour towards other cetacean species when in captivity, it is possible that it also feeds on marine mammals and birds.
Population : It is not as rare as previously thought.
Migration : It does not appear to migrate, remaining instead in the same regions year-round.
Habits : This dolphin does not jump out of the water, but it does lob-tail, slapping the surface with its tail. In captivity, it is aggressive towards other cetaceans and towards trainers.
Distribution : It lives in the temperate and tropical waters of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans.

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Whale Watching South Africa : Whale Trail Hermanus, Cape Whale Coast, Garden Route
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