One of the crazier things I have witnessed. T37A2, a young male Bigg’s (Transient) Killer Whale, pops out of the water with a Harbour Porpoise firmly in his jaws. Whoa!!
T37A2 with his mom and two siblings spent several days in our area, and were noted to be successfully hunting porpoise on several occasions during their time in the area. If I had to speculate, this spyhop with prey in the mouth is likely due to the whale coming from below the porpoise with some speed during the attack and then continuing into a spyhop due to the momentum, rather than him “celebrating” or “showing off” his kill by lifting it into the air.
Whatever is going on, the porpoise became a meal for this family of whales. The matriarch of this family is a very productive mother, with four offspring all born in relatively quick succession (2-3 year intervals …. That’s the fastest calving interval possible for killer whales!). T37A, I salute you!
Also interesting to note … This porpoise hunt was carried out by T37A2 and his very young baby sibling, who is not even a year old! It was amazing to watch this young calf help his/her big brother take down such challenging prey while mom hung out some distance away.