False Killer Whale
Pseudorca crassidens

Other Names: False Pilot Whale, Pseudorca

Habitat: Offshore and occasionally inshore

Status: Rare

Population: Unknown

Threats: Hunting/whaling and entanglement in fishing nets

Group Size: 10-50, may be several hundred at social gatherings

Fin Position: Center

Newborns: 5 -6 ft (1.6-1.9 m), 175 lb. (80 kg)

Adults: 14-19 ft (4.3-6 m), 1.1-2.2 tons

Diet: Squid or octopus, fish, and occasionally mammals

Teeth: 16-22 on top row, 16-22 on bottom row


Dorsal fin:

- pointed tips (variable)
- strongly concave trailing edge
- large, prominent dorsal fin
- may have rounded tip


- distinct notch in middle
- slightly pointed tips
- flukes small in relation to body size


- short, narrow flippers set far forward on body
- pointed tips
- unique "elbow" on S-shaped leading edges


- teeth along most of length of jaw bones

Other characteristics:

- long, slender head tapers to rounded beak
- dark head may look pale gray in certain lights
- body may be scarred
- long, slender body shape
- deep gray or black body color (paler in calves)
- gray or off-white W shape on chest (variable)


- fast, active swimmer
- often lifts entire head and much of body out of water when it surfaces, and sometimes even the flippers are visible
- frequently emerges with mouth open, revealing rows of teeth
- may make sudden stops of sharp turns, especially when feeding
- approaches boats to investigate, bow-ride, or wake-ride
- often breaches, usually twisting to fall back into the water on its side, causing a huge splash for a whale of its size
- makes graceful leaps clear of the water when excited, and lobtails
- seems to be susceptible to stranding, sometimes in huge numbers (more than 800 in one exceptional case)

TMMSN Galveston

TMMSN Corpus Christi

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This page was created by:Candice Orca Mottet