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Killer Whale vs Great White Shark

Updated on December 11, 2010


Both the killer whale and the great white shark are apex predators, and have no real natural enemies. They are enormous creatures that can eat almost anything they want in the sea, both have huge teeth and jaws, and neither seem to show much mercy when killing. That's where the similarities end, however. These two creatures are very different in their hunting methods and social behavior. The purpose of this hub is to deduce what would happen in a fight between a killer whale and a great white shark, but it is also to explore the difference between the two creatures.

If you're interested in which titanic beast would spill more blood, then read on!

The Killer Whale

The killer whale, also known as the orca, is one of the largest mammal predators in the world. It is able to reach a weight of over 6.5 tons, which is about the same size as a bush elephant. Because of its massive size, the whale has no natural predators.

Since killer whales hunt in packs, they are able to take down essentially any prey in the ocean. Even the mighty blue whale has fallen before the the orca, although the one that was killed was only about sixty feet long; blue whales can get to about one-hundred feet long. That said, it still shows the capabilities of a pod of orcas.

Being a pod animal, the orca is highly social and playful creature. The killer whale will often play with its food, throwing it into the air with its snout or tail. The reason behind this behavior is unknown, but some believe it is just playing around or training for additional hunts. Killer whales have also been known to let their prey go after they are done playing with it.

There have been no recorded attacks of killer whales on humans in the wild. The reasoning behind this is also unknown, although it is likely a combination of the whale's curiosity toward humans and the fact that they rarely come in contact with each other. While there have been no recorded attacks, it is still advisable for people to not swim with killer whales as they are massive creatures that are capable of killing a human entirely by accident.

Offensively, the killer whale has a large jaw and several rows of cony teeth. It is not able to take huge chunks out of its prey, at least relative to its size, but it can still deal a ton of damage. Its incredible power also allows it to use its body as a weapon, ramming into other whales to stun or even drown them.

Defensively, the whale has thick blubber that allows it to take a great deal of punishment before retiring.  It's also one of the fastest and most agile things in the ocean.

Sonar acts as both an offensive and defensive weapon, as it allows the whale to know where the shark is at all times.  The odds of a great white sneaking up on a killer whale are very slim.

The Greate White Shark

The great white shark is smaller than the killer whale, although its length is somewhat comparable.  Its weight, however, is significantly less than the killer whales in that it only carries around about two tons.  This means that it weighs about three times less than the killer whale, if not more.  While this isn't necessarily a huge disadvantage, as the killer whale is able to take down much larger prey, it is worth noting.

The great white is an ambush hunter that prefers to attack its prey from below.  It is capable of great bursts of speed, but is unable to maintain it for as long as a killer whale, since it is not a warm blooded creature.  That said, the shark commands a great amount of power and has a huge set of jaws, which are comparable to the killer whale's.  Its teeth are sharper and more serrated, which make them more efficient at ripping apart flesh.

Great white sharks are a fair threat to humans, as they are known for attacking them unlike killer whales.  While they don't make up the bulk of human shark attacks, they still contribute a fair amount and should never be swam with unless the diver is wearing protective gear.  Even then it is very dangerous as these creatures can compress a human's chest cavity with a single bite - something that can also break limbs. 

Offensively, the shark has massive jaws and is able to move in bursts of great speed.  It is a powerful creature, but not as strong as the killer whale as it is smaller.  Its endurance also isn't as high, but that shouldn't matter in this type of fight. 

Defensively, the shark is incredibly difficult to kill (more so than even the orca.)  Its hide is also very tough, giving it a sort of armor plating.  Unlike the marine mammals that a lot of orcas like to hunt, the great white does not have to breathe and can dive deeper into the water than the orcas can.  If attack, it may be able to escape into the depths of the ocean.

The shark has an additional sense that allows it to sense the electromagnetic field around organisms.  This means that the orca won't be able to sneak up on it; likewise, it cannot sneak up on the killer whale.

Killer Whale vs Great White on Tape


The killer whale would win this fight significantly more than it would lose it. This is mainly due to its massive size advantage, which lends itself to increased power and endurance. The whale is able to deal a killing blow to the shark more easily than the shark is able to deal to the whale.

I do think a great white would have a good chance against an adolescent orca, but a full grown whale would defeat the shark 9/10 times, if not more. This is a very difficult fight for the great white.

You can see an orca killing a great white shark in the video above.  It does it with relative ease.


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    • profile image

      Icehole73 2 years ago

      Orca, no question. Consider the family pod, size, brains and good looks. They know to ram and flip the sharks over to reduce the chance of injury.

    • profile image

      Holly 3 years ago

      Orcas and great white sharks tend to leave eachother alone, a great white wouldn't attack a fully grown orca but will kill a young calf, which explains the reason why female orcas will usually attack a great white if it gets too close too its young. Orcas are very highly intelligent, the fact that 'groups' were mentioned on orcas living in pods and great whites living in 'bigger groups' - great whites hunt alone theres no meaning of 'family' whereas orcas have a part of the brain that humans do not have where they take family meaning to whole different level, so basically they will protect their family, great whites dont. But I would definitely say for certain an orca would win 100% everytime. But at the same time like I would say to any animal that came face to face with another predator that could do a lot of damage, it always depends on who gets who first. Great whites won't attack an adult orca because they know what they are capable off. So basically my answer definitely is, an orca is capable of killing a great white easily, but it wouldn't be a fight between the two so there would be 'who would win' as they are both powerful animals that both know what eachother is capable of.

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      anonymous 3 years ago

      I wonder if a single orca or a pod of orca could kill Submarine...if you don't what I'm talking about just look up "submarine attacks off south African coast" or animalplanet/submarine.

    • profile image

      James petterson 4 years ago

      Powerful predator's are great white shark including killer whale, what i'm thinking is in great white shark infeasted water's any way you thinking there are working together what this after they are fighting for the other creature's to attack in the open ocean's sea to finish to eat are left over's to finish they meal, to this powerful predator it to be the great white shark will win a killer whale what it show's a killer whale attack 1 great white shark on you tube but it is wrong is should be the great white shark and a male sperm whale an attack a killer whale it is really happening really in the wild.

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      karan 4 years ago

      no doubt...killer whale has the edge. Credits to its gigantic size

    • profile image

      Anonymous 4 years ago

      Thank you, but I don't know why you bother with righting a whole article on the subject. Is this a passion....or even an an obsession?

    • profile image

      Smart 5 years ago

      Also, echolocation can only travel strait, which means that the orca has to face the great white to detect it. Now, great whites attack from bellow, and have a sense that allows them to detect anything any direction from there, even behind.

    • profile image

      Smart 5 years ago

      Also, there is no way an orca could have torn a great white shark like that so quick. Also, why was the great white shark a bit yellowish brown. I heard of gray, white. shiny black, dull black, dark blue and brown great white sharks, but never of yellowish brown. Also, the shark was a baby, so your saying a baby great white shark (which I believe which was a lemon shark) vs an adult bull orca? I want to see an adult healthy full grown female great white shark vs a full grown healthy adult bull orca.

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      Smart 5 years ago

      Great white sharks can grow to be bigger, though usually the orca gets the size advantage. If the great white shark manages to get the size advantage the great white shark has more santamia, speed, power, leaping strength and many other advantages. So basically, if both are at there full size and full strength the great white will win. Great white sharks live in groups, but females spend most of their time away from the group, while males tend to stay together. While the orca's have a maximum of 40 members, while great whites have a maximum of 50 members. Also that video was not orca attack on great white shark, it was orca attack on lemon shark. I looked at the pictures and the film, because it seemed like impossible. Also, great white sharks usually get to be about the size of lemon sharks. There is also something I wonder, why were almost all great white sharks attack made by females.

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      Anonomus 5 years ago

      The shark should have won

    • profile image

      luck 5 years ago


    • profile image

      Shadicxx 5 years ago

      Well if the whale was a juvinile then the shark would win and if the shark attacks a pod..the shark is gona lose

      P.S No one f**ks a family

    • profile image

      martinnetsims 5 years ago

      hi tom sorry iv took so long here is the link

      and some info ,ring them if you need them in a hurry ,just say netsims told you to ring

    • profile image

      nhatminh84 5 years ago

      The article forgot to mention that the orca is one of the most intelligent mammals on earth. Belonging to dolphin family it is consistently rated in top 5 with humans, apes, and dogs. In contrast, the shark is just a fish!!!

    • profile image

      michaelheemson 5 years ago

      hello there tom sorry iv took so long here is there web address

      filling address ,ring them for advice , mention micky heemson said you would sort him out

    • profile image

      dad 6 years ago

      i want to kill u jose

    • profile image

      jose 6 years ago

      no mom

    • profile image

      sukkitt 6 years ago

      Sharks blow coxx....!!!! The orca f-n roxx...!!!

    • profile image

      Paulo 6 years ago

      Now if there was a Megadalon still in existence, then the shark team could claim top honors, but in today's world, the Orca is much larger and just knows how to kill the smaller Great White.

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      hubens 6 years ago

      This video is a cheat.The shark was a baby and not a shark adult.I want to see an Orcas adult against an adult shark, the great white shark can reach 7-8 meters but will be reported to reach 10 metros. Orcas can will reach 9.8 but will estimation.The records of exceeding the killer whales are more intelligent , but sharks are more mortais.The jaws of orcas only serves to grab, sure to grab the fins of the great whales thus not allowing breathe.The jaws of sharks serve to tear the prey until it lost too much blood to death

      . the orca is more agile but the shark is faster (straight). The Orcas is larger, however, is only 2.1 meters higher than the tubarão.I hate sharks, but only because they are more dangerous . so I bet all the shark!

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      6 years ago

      tthat is imposible.How is that posible?

    • profile image

      james headson 6 years ago

      Great white shark in they infeasted waters working together against the killer whales i thinking the largest of the great whites they could try to kill a killer whale like playing football score great white shark 7 killer whale 4 but the fish vs sea mammal the fish wins in the wild and it is the ulimate ocean or sea creature is at the top of food chain but the whale came 3 place of the food chain.

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      Manisha 6 years ago

      In my opion, I don't think the great white shark will watch closely even on the other side of the ocean, sometime the killer whale come out of nowhere for the great white shark and just attcak it

    • profile image

      Foroud 6 years ago

      Absolutely Killer Whale(Orca)

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      killer wale friend 6 years ago

      lovee it

    • profile image

      alex 6 years ago

      it dident even attak it

    • profile image

      Will not tell 6 years ago

      I love orca whales this was


    • profile image

      tira 6 years ago

      killer whale will totally win its the bestest largest dolphin in the world

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      Jeff 6 years ago

      Orac breathe with lung which can bring way way way more oxygen than gill. shark will be paralyzed after 30 seconds fight due to lack of oxygen. that's why when prey, shark only do one attack while orac will mess around with the prey for up to 30 mins before real attack. on that regard, shark gets no chance to win over orac

    • loveonline profile image

      loveonline 6 years ago

      Clash of the Titans - Killer Whales only attack humans when held in captivity...such as SeaWorld

      Would be very interesting to see a great white and a killer whale roughly the same size go at it, I would put my money on the Killer Whale for sure due to the agility intelligence advantage.

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      Eric 6 years ago

      Neither Orca nor Great white might be able to easily sneak up on one another, but if they came face to face and for whatever reason the Great white doesn't flee, (The Orca would be more likely to initiate an attack on a threat to itself or another pod member than the great white which has no reason to initiate attacks other than a potential prey item or curiosity.) then the intelligence, strength, and speed of the Orca (Orcas can swim up to 30 mph in short bursts compared to the great white's 26mph in even shorter bursts)would give it a significant advantage, plus the fact that Great Whites tend to stay clear of larger or same sized creatures unless they are already dead. The particular filmed attack of an Orca on a Great White, shows the Orca's method of flipping the shark upside down leaving it in a paralyzed state making killing it really easy. Based on that evidence I'd also beg to differ that the Great White has no natural predators, because that Orca not only killed it but ate it's liver too, and actually had a reputation for eating sharks. So technically for that Orca's pod members, and offspring at least, great whites are looked upon as potential prey. Another "deciding factor" would be the Orca's ability to learn things. Orca's have the ability to learn new hunting strategies and it wouldn't be out of the norm for them to "learn" how to kill great whites, where as great whites attack on instinct alone, and while they might try different hunting strategy's on occasion it's usually on the same prey items it's used to attacking.

    • mabmiles profile image

      mabmiles 6 years ago

      Interesting article!I love whales win versus sharks. I hate sharks!

    • profile image

      sharklover 7 years ago

      sharks are amaziiiing

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      Gino 7 years ago

      Orcas are known as Apex Predators meaning they have no natural predators, they are considered top of there food chain. Hope this helps

    • Dalyinx profile image

      Dalyinx 7 years ago from New York

      It depends on how you define enemies. Orcas have no real predators - the young might be preyed on by certain large sharks, like the great white, but that's about it. As far as creatures that the whale won't mess with, I'd say they'd probably steer clear of most large whiles like blue whales and sperm whales. While this isn't always the case, it's often too dangerous for them to risk. Sperm whale bulls are probably the most dangerous creatures for orcas to confront.

      As to what you'd type in google, you can try "Orca predators," "killer whale predators," "killer whale natural enemies," "orca natural enemies," and so-on.

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      alex priddis 7 years ago

      hi i am doing a information report on killer whales and i am having trouble finding what there enemies are on the web and i was wodering if you could tell me what to type in on google page

      please post back a comment

    • rls8994 profile image

      rls8994 7 years ago from Mississippi

      Great article! I find these creatures so fasinating to look at.