Orcas and Great White Sharks

Report on hunting techniques for Orcas and Great White Sharks in Cape Town. The White Shark has its nursery in Gansbaai on the Atlantic Ocean in South Africa. The killer whale also visits the South African coastal regions in search of food. Killer whales can find many seals, especially in False Bay near Fish Hoek. A problem arose at Fish Hoek that no white sharks could be seen for weeks. It may be related to the fact that large schools of killer whales have been observed in this region.

We would like to point out that our cage diving takes place in Gansbaai and not in Fish Hoek!

Orcas and Great White Sharks - Hunting techniques - meeting of two hunters 

Orcas and Great White Sharks

The Monterey Bay Aquarium in collaboration with Leland Stanford Junior University have studied the behavior of great white sharks and orcas when they meet on the world's oceans.

Monterey Bay Aquarium & Leland Stanford Junior University

The aquarium in the city of Monterey is located in the middle of California on a rugged seashore. Leland Stanford Junior University is also located in the USA - approx. 60 km from the coastal city of San Francisco.

It is known in South Africa when orcas appear in the False Bay of Cape Town that great white sharks dive into the deep sea or seek out the open sea. The White Sharks shy away from a fight, they do not want to be injured or killed. Smaller sharks are likely to be afraid of orcas because they hunt in groups. Therefore it could be that the great white shark is inferior to the orcas under these conditions.

Scientists examined the data from a total of 165 White Sharks, all of which were equipped with a tracking device. They had many ways to compare killer whales and see how the White Sharks reacted.

Great White Shark Tours

Intelligent killer whales
Even young animals attack sharks and the older orcas wait patiently because they want to protect their teeth. They also attack in a team. Even humpback or blue whales are captured. To do this, they lie down on the whales and press them underwater. In time the whale simply drowns. Young and inexperienced whales are particularly easy prey.

Another trick is creating small or large waves. If there are seals on the mainland, swim in a group to the sleeping seal. They create a wave and the seal falls into the sea. This is how they can practice their hunting techniques on ice floes in the Antarctic and make plenty of prey.

In the study, the two giants of the seas only met four times. At each meeting, the Great White Shark dives into the depths of the seas. In some cases it was observed that the White Shark sought another hunting area and did not return to the old area for at least 1 year.

During the investigations they were able to document a direct attack on a great white shark. At this point we cannot say whether it was a decrepit shark.

However, the attack was fatal to this shark. The attackers only ate the oily liver, which is very nutritious. This approach is not an isolated case.

Hunting techniques

Great white shark and the revolver teeth
The White Shark's revolver denture has nothing to do with a revolver, but is only intended to show that a great white shark has teeth that grow back and that fall out, but keep growing again.

Brief comparison of both animals:
Killer whales
  • Body length: ± 10 meters
  • Females: 5 - 6 meters
  • Males: 7-10 meters
  • Weight: 6,000 - 9,000 kilograms
  • Life expectancy: between 50 and 80 years
  • Top speed: ± 55 km / h
  • swims per day: approx. 200 km
  • Teeth length: about 10 cm
  • Schools: 10 to 70 animals
  • Diving depths: 30 to 150 meters
  • Dives: 15-20 minutes underwater
  • Emergence: every 2 to 5 minutes
Great white sharks
Great white sharks
  • Size of the female: up to 7 meters
  • Size of the male: up to 5 meters
  • Top speed: up to 60 km / h
  • Weight: approx. 3.5 tons
  • Diving depth: up to 1,280 meters
  • Dentition: Revolver dentition
  • Teeth: 300 triangular teeth
  • Teeth length: 7.5 centimeters
  • Bite force: 3,000 to 18,000 Newtons - strongest bite force
  • Some marine researchers believe that the great white shark is not deliberately attacked by killer whales. It could also be the delimitation of a hunting area.
You should contact us for further information.

Your Cape Town shark diving team


Contact for Orcas and Great White Sharks