Although their name would suggest otherwise, killer whales - also known as orcas - are generally thought to be gentle giants of the sea. Free Willy and other whale-centric films have managed to brand orcas as some of the friendliest marine mammals - and films like the controversial Blackfish shed light on how they are mistreated in captivity - but in reality, orcas can be brutal and ferocious, hunting everything from small fish to seals and dolphins. Since orcas are extremely intelligent, they often use their developed communication skills and carnivorous instincts to dominate the ocean as apex predators. A group of aggressive orcas have the collective power to take down almost any threat, including humans.
Many may simply attribute orcas' bloodthirsty tendencies to their natural instincts rather than any inherent sadistic preferences. The orca facts listed below, however, may give you a fresh understanding of where orcas get their unsavory nickname. While plenty of people fear sharks, perhaps these seemingly friendly marine mammals are the true, unrecognized threat of the sea.