Fun False Killer Whale Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Nov 14, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Yashvee Patel
False killer whale facts are interesting to kids.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 9.5 Min

Dolphins are known as one of the most intelligent mammals that live on our planet. If you want to know more about dolphins, do have a look at the false killer whale. They are an integral part of the 'Delphinidae' family, and they are the sole representatives of the genus 'Pseudorca'. False killer whales are found all over the world, mainly in tropical and sub-tropical regions. The only place where you might not be able to spot a false killer whale is in Antarctica's cold waters. They are also rare in the southern part of New Zealand. However, false killer whales have fascinated people with their intelligent social skills and love for taking away fishes and squids from fishing lines. The false killer whales live a long life navigating the depths of the open oceans. Currently, these intelligent mammals are enlisted as 'Near Threatened' in the IUCN Redlist. Their numbers might be reduced because of hunting, accidents with fishing equipment, and sudden mass strandings. Want to know more? Keep on reading to have in-depth knowledge about false killer whales.

Did you enjoy the false killer whale facts? Do check out the articles about leopard seals and West Indian manatees.

False Killer Whale Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a False Killer Whale?

A false killer whale is a form of oceanic dolphin coming under the genus 'Pseudorca'.

What class of animal does a False Killer Whale belong to?

A False killer whale belongs to the class 'Mammalia' and from the family 'Delphinidae'.

How many False Killer Whales are there in the world?

As the False killer whales are found throughout the open oceans of the world, it is hard to calculate their total population. However, the number of Hawaiian Islands insular false killer whales is estimated to be fewer than 150 individuals, and the species is classified as endangered.

Where does a False Killer Whale live?

The false killer whale lives in the ocean and they have been spotted around the world except for the extremely cold waters of Antarctica.

What is a False Killer Whale's habitat?

The false killer whales prefer the tropical and semitropical oceanic waters having a warm climate. They have also been seen in temperate waters, but it isn't their usual habitat. A false killer whale usually likes to live deep in the open ocean at up to 3,280.8 ft (1,000 m). However, the Hawaiian islands' variant of these marine mammals is able to live in shallow waters. The false killer whales may even frequent coastal areas. These marine mammals are still a mystery as not many studies have been done on false killer whale pods around the world. Most data is learned from unfortunate stranded false killer whales.

Who do False Killer Whales live with?

False killer whales live in the ocean with their family members. As highly sociable animals, false killer whales belong to larger groups that spread across a large area. A small group of six-25 false killer whales often form a subgroup or pod from the larger group. A false killer whale will stick to this pod when they have to prey for food. False killer whales are closely associated with bottlenose dolphins, and both species are often seen together. Groups containing as many as 500 false killer whales have also been spotted.

As false killer whales are found throughout the world, it is obvious that they do come into contact with different marine animals. Most notably, the false killer whales are known for getting their favorite fish and other catches off fishing lines. Also, false killer whales take part in prey sharing to get more social with the other marine life present around them. A funny fact is that some false killer whales have even shown the tendency to provide food to humans. Some False killer whales are born and raised in captivity as they are housed in zoos and aquariums.

How long does a False Killer Whale live?

False killer whales can live up to 62 years old. A female false killer whale tends to live longer compared to a male false killer whale.

How do they reproduce?

A false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens) is a marine mammal under the family of dolphins. False killer whales take a long time to reach sexual maturity, and it is usually between the ages of 8-14 years. False killer whales do not have a specific mating season, but they are mostly conceived during the winter months. In some cases in the species, a female false killer whale may have a calf every seven years. The females have to carry the baby calf for 11-18 months, and they typically have one baby per litter. The mother of the species feeds milk to the offspring for one and a half to two years from birth. Somewhere between the ages of 44-55, a female false killer whale hits her menopause and stops having the ability to have kids. However, the unique aspect of this species is that the female false killer whales keep on being an important part of the pod or family.

What is their conservation status?

Currently, false killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens) have the status of being Near Threatened. The Hawaiian false killer whale is the most affected species as only 150 individuals are remaining in their entire population. This has led to the Hawaiian false killer whale being listed as 'Endangered.' Though there have been no extensive studies that research more about the population of false killer whales present, several treaties are trying to conserve the population of this species. Several agreements have been formed globally to protect the precious population of false killer whales.

False Killer Whale Fun facts

What do False Killer Whales look like?

False killer whale facts enrich the marine mammal species.

A False killer whale looks like a mix between a dolphin and an orca. False killer whales usually have beautiful black or dark gray smooth, shiny skin. The underside of a false killer whale has a slightly lighter color. They have a tall, tapered dorsal fin along with a prominent bulge near their S-shaped flippers. A false killer whale has a more slender body compared to that of an orca. The males tend to be slightly bigger than the females. On peeking inside their mouths, you will notice 44 shining teeth.

False killer whales also have a pointed head, and it lacks a beak, the 'melon' or the bulbous appearance of a false killer whale makes them even more prominent. The dorsal fin of a false killer whale sits right at the middle of its back, and it usually curves backward. A peculiar variance is seen in the dorsal fins of the Hawaiian species as they go through changes due to close contact with fishing nets. Some false killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens) also have a 'W' shaped mark on their chest.

How cute are they?

The name false killer whale is not appropriate as these marine mammals are extremely cute. As they are highly social animals, the species appears much more approachable to us humans. The cuteness of false killer whales has also made them a popular exhibit in aquariums and zoos. A false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens) appears even cuter when they do the trick of throwing its food high up in the air before catching it.

How do they communicate?

The false killer whales are toothed, which gives them the plus point to navigate the oceans via echolocation (a form of biosonar used by many animals, for instance, bats). The melon-like projection on the top of a false killer whale's head acts as the organ that helps them in echolocating. This melon-shaped organ tends to be bigger in the case of male false killer whales.

False killer whales are also known for producing a variety of vocalizations. It includes whistles, low-frequency pulse trains, and high-frequency pulse trains. These help the species of false killer whales to navigate the deep oceans and to hunt for their favorite prey.

How big is a False Killer Whale?

Adult false killer whales can grow up to 16.1 ft-19.7 ft (4.9-6 m). The females are slightly smaller than the males. Their average size is almost equal to the short-finned pilot whale. The false killer whales are one or two times bigger in size compared to that of their good friends, the common bottlenose dolphins.

How fast can a False Killer Whale move?

False killer whales have the ability to swim up to 18 mph (29 kph). In Chile, the average cruising speed of false killer whales was measured to be 9 mph (14.5 kph). They have the ability to dive deep into tropical and subtropical waters. In the Hawaiian islands, they have been documented to dive as deep as 3,044.6 ft (928 m).

How much does a False Killer Whale weigh?

The average weight of an adult false killer whale can measure between 2,645.5-4,409.2 lb (1,200 kg-2,000 kg). The males carry a little more weight compared to the females.

What are their male and female names of the species?

The male false killer whales are known as 'bulls' and female false killer whales are known as 'cows.'

What would you call a baby False Killer Whale?

Baby false killer whales are known as calves.

What do they eat?

As carnivorous mammals, the false killer whales love to hunt other marine animals. The false killer whale diet includes prey like fish, squid, and marine mammals. They are also known for hunting squids and fish during the daytime. When it comes to their favorite foods, tuna and mahi-mahi will top the list. When bred in captivity, a false killer whale can eat food up to 4% of its total body weight every day. False killer whales are known for making things easier for themselves by relying on fishing lines to have a quick meal. However, this has led to more dorsal fin injuries as they might get caught in the fishing lines. In some species of false killer whales, they may throw food high up in the air before eating it. There are even instances where false killer whales have even preyed on small sharks.

Are they dangerous?

False killer whales are extremely large animals, so it is easy to perceive them as dangerous. However, they have been quite friendly to humans and have also offered them food. Not much information is available about the behavioral patterns of the false killer whales. While in captivity, false killer whales have shown high adaptability and they were quite easily trained. This made them quite popular in aquariums in Japan, and the United States.

Would they make a good pet?

No, a false killer whale can never become a good pet as it is nearly impossible to arrange them in habitable spaces. As large marine animals, they should never live in an aquarium. Their natural habitat is the open ocean which is free from any restrictions that are usually faced by animals when they are kept in captivity. Also, it won't be legal to keep a false killer whale as your pet.

Did you know...

False killer whales lack the distinctive white patches seen in killer whales and pilot whales.

If a male false killer whale is bred with a female bottlenose dolphin they are able to produce extremely rare hybridized fertile offsprings called 'wholphins'.

Naming The False Killer Whale

The false killer whale has a peculiar name as it was first designated as an orca because of its skull's similarity with that of a killer whale or Orcinus orca. However, later they were identified as a distinct animal, but the name 'killer whale' stuck to them even after the false killer whale vs orca debate was over. Currently, they are the only animals representation of the genus 'Pseudorca'.

Is The False Killer Whale Endangered?

Not all species of false killer whales are considered endangered. However, the Hawaiian false killer whales are considered to be endangered as fewer than 150 individuals are alive.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including anteaters and plains zebras.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our False Killer Whale coloring pages.

False Killer Whale Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Squid, Fish, and other marine animals

What Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?


How Much Did They Weigh?

2,645.5 lb-4,409.2 lb (1,200-2,000 kg)

What habitat Do they Live In?

tropical and semitropical oceanic waters

Where Do They Live?

throughout the world (especially found in china, japan, hawaii, eastern pacific, africa, india)

How Long Were They?

16.1-19.7 ft (4.9 m-6 m)

How Tall Were They?








Scientific Name

Pseudorca crassidens

What Do They Look Like?

Black, Dark gray

Skin Type

Sleek skin

What Are Their Main Threats?

sharks, killer whales, humans

What is their Conservation Status?

Near Threatened
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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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