Life and Reproductive Cycles

killer whale orcaLife Cycle and Reproductive Cycle of the Killer Whale:

Killer whales are usually born from October to March every year. When the baby is born, he or she is born tail first and close to the surface of the ocean. The baby learns to swim within 30 minutes of its birth. Newborns are an average of 6.5-8 feet long and weigh about 400 Ibs. The baby is nursed for the first year of its life by its mother and stays with the mother for the rest of its life. A male killer whale’s lifespan is usually around 30 years but he can, in fact, live up to about 50-60 years; a female usually lives till 50 but, in some cases, lives up to 90 years of age.

Female killer whales mature faster than the males. Their age of maturity is somewhere around 6-10 years while the male age of maturity is somewhere around 12-16 years. Killer whales live in pods and the female killer whales mate every 3 to 7 years due to what is known as a Polyestrous cycle. Sexual maturity for females is reached at about 10 to 13 years of age, though there has been a case where a female gave birth at age 7.  Gestation is 16-17 months. Female killer whales are the leaders in the pods that they travel with. The whales never breed with another whale of their pod, but rather from another to avoid interbreeding.  When it comes to the males finding a mate, they become very aggressive over the females and tend to fight, which is why there are many killer whales that have scars on their bodies. However, males do not mate for life. They do,though, stay with their mothers for life.

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