White Shark vs Killer Whale

White Shark:

White shark, (Carcharodon carcharias), also called great white shark or white pointer, any member of the largest living species of the mackerel sharks (Lamnidae) and one of the most powerful and dangerous predatory sharks in the world. Starring as the villain of movies such as Jaws (1975), the white shark is much maligned and publicly feared. However, surprisingly little is understood of its life and behavior.

White Shark.


Great white sharks are undoubtedly impressive predators. They are built to hunt large prey, and can most certainly injure humans. That being said, sharks are commonly loathed and viewed as man-eating beasts. In reality, this is far from the truth. Very little is known about great white shark behavior and dominance structure. When sharks congregate in some feeding areas they have been documented using a dominance hierarchy. Female sharks, which are larger than males, are most dominant, followed by large males, and resident animals are dominant over newcomers.


Great white sharks live in oceans between 54º and 75º F and can be found in most oceans with these conditions worldwide. Their habitat is dictated less by their preferences, and more by the preferences of their prey. Great whites are found in higher numbers in areas that have rich prey options. They can be found both in the open ocean and close to the coasts.

Great White Shark.

Teeth and Jaws:

Like all sharks, the great white has jaws that are unique from other animals because both the top and bottom jaws move. A great white shark will ambush its prey, attack by biting with the lower jaw and then its upper jaw. It shakes its head back and forth tearing off a large piece of meat and swallowing it hole.

A great white shark, like all sharks, may have up to 3,000 teeth at one time with five rows of teeth at any given time. The front set of teeth is the largest and does most of the biting. Like all sharks, the great white shark may grow and use more than 20,000 teeth in its lifetime. In common with all sharks, the great white will never run out of teeth because if one is lost, another spins forward from a coil-like tooth reservoir of backup teeth in the jaw and spins forward to replace the old one.

Jaws and Teeth.

Killer Whale:

Killer whale, (Orcinus orca), also called orca, the largest member of the dolphin family (Delphinidae). The killer whale is easy to identify by its size and its striking coloration: jet black on top and pure white below with a white patch behind each eye, another extending up each flank, and a variable “saddle patch” just behind the dorsal fin. Despite the fact that this cetacean is a powerful carnivore, there is no record of its having killed humans in the wild. Dozens of killer whales have been kept in captivity and trained as performers, a practice that in the 21st century was increasingly viewed as unethical.

Killer Whale.


In general, the killer whale behavior includes breaching (jumping), travelling, tail slapping and socializing.

  • Social Behavior

The social structure of the killer whale is quite complex and stable. They live with their mothers for their entire lives. Their family consists of an old female and her sons and daughters along with the descendants of her daughters. Since the life expectancy of a female killer whale is almost 90 years, up to almost 4 generations stay together. Individual killer whales usually separate from the group for only a few hours.

  • Social Hierarchy

Social hierarchy exists amongst the killer whales where the females are dominant.

  • Individual Behavior

A killer whale may thrust itself completely out of the water and then land on the surface of the water with a huge splash. This behavior is termed a breach. A killer whale may rise vertically exposing only its head. This behavior is termed as spy hop. Sometimes a killer whale may make loud sounds either under the water or above it by lob tailing, dorsal fin slapping, and pec-slapping.


Habitat & Distribution. Killer whales inhabit all oceans of the world. Next to humans and perhaps the brown rat (Rattus norvegicus), killer whales are the most widely distributed mammal.

Killer Whale.

Teeth and Jaws:

Killer whales have 45 teeth. Each tooth is around 7.6 centimeters long. A killer whale’s teeth are sharp and shaped for ripping apart their prey. However, instead of chewing their food, they often just swallow them whole. Killer whales can swallow prey such as small sea lions and seals in one gulp.

Whale Teeth.

Comparing features of a Great white shark and an Killer Whale:

Great White vs Killer Whale.
FeaturesGreat White SharksKiller Whales
HabitatUnited States, South Africa and JapanFrom the Equator to Polar regions
Scientific nameCarcharodon carchariasOrcinus orca
Weight5000 pounds10,000 pounds
Height15 to 20 feet23 to 32 feet
Lifespan70 years50 to 80 years


Both the great white shark and the killer whale or orca are fearsome top predators. But of the two massive animals, the killer whale may be the more formidable one, a new study has found. The researchers aren’t sure why the sharks move away as soon as orcas arrive.

Killer whales off the coast of South Africa are killing great white sharks and eating their livers, according to a new government report. At the very top of the food chain, killer whales, or orcas, are ripping out the fatty livers of their unfortunate white shark prey with their teeth.


2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Which ocean mammal is nicknamed the killer whale? – The Millennial Mirror
  2. Sharks: Their hedonistic history - needyfish

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