Ask Peter Gros

posted: 05/15/12
Mutual of Omaha

If you missed our Way of the Warrior live chat with host and wildlife expert Peter Gros, we've got the transcript with your wildlife warrior questions answered, right here.

Peter Gros: Welcome! I hope you enjoyed "Way of the Warrior." Many of the animals you've seen have been portrayed in their roles of killers, but we must keep in mind that they're all a very important part of the natural world doing their part to contribute to the balance in nature that exists.

fozzy18: We've seen how a killer whale can kill a Great White, but would this be the case if the two were equal in size? What enables the whale to defeat the shark, is it intelligence?

Peter Gros: As you saw, great white sharks can rarely get to be over 1 ton, where killer whales can weigh as much as 7 tons. Hypothetically, if they were the same size I think the killer whale would defeat the shark because they hunt in packs and work together as a team. Although the white shark has razor-like teeth and is much more maneuverable than a killer whale, I don't think it would be a match for a pod of feeding orcas.

Transient killer whales of North America, which feed on seals and other marine mammals, travel and feed in groups. The herring-eating killer whales of Norway often forage in very large groups with many pods represented in a coordinated encirclement of tens of thousands of herring. The solitary whales that slide out on the beaches in Argentina to grab young seals are another ecotype that will hunt alone.

Although the great white would be outweighed, it might be a much closer competition between a large white shark and a young killer whale in Argentina.

About Our Expert

Peter Gros is special adviser to Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom on Animal Planet and a former co-host of the original series. He has more than 22 years of field experience with captive wildlife. In his former position as director of land animals and vice president at Marine World/Africa USA, he established breeding programs for 377 endangered animals.

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