Food consumption and suckling in Killer whales



Between 1976 and 1996 food consumption and suckling in Killer whales Oscines orca maintained at Marineland Antibes, France, were studied. The food intake of the whales was still increasing at 20 years of age, when they were consuming c. 19 000 kg of fish per year. Wild Killer whales will expend more energy foraging than captive animals and probably eat more than 19 000 kg/year. A seasonal pattern of food consumption was observed in all the whales, although this may have been caused by seasonal changes in the feeding schedule. Data on the number of suckling bouts per 24 hours in the first 5–10 days after birth of 1.1 calves are presented, together with the body measurements of a 13 year-old ♂.