Terror in the high seas!

Sea Bullies

Orcas have gobbled up news headlines this past year due to numerous reports of these killer whales harassing — and at times even sinking — boats, sparking countless memes and befuddlement.

When they aren't busy assaulting seagoing vessels, orcas are known to hunt dolphins, and this behavior was on display recently in the waters of the San Diego coast. In dramatic footage posted on Instagram, a sizeable orca spikes a hapless dolphin like it's a volleyball into the sky during a hunt.

"This magnificent creature, with a massive weight of 6,000 kg and capable of speeds up to 56 km/h, showcased a striking example of kinetic energy in the natural world," reads the accompanying caption posted by tourism company Netzero Expeditions, which originally posted the video. "During its hunting maneuver, the orca generated a staggering 727,087.87 Joules of energy, comparable to the force of over 450 professional boxer’s punches or a compact car moving at 60 km/h colliding with a wall — all concentrated in a single, breathtaking instant."

In the same clip, you can see an orca dive into the water, taking a dolphin down into the watery depths. Netzero also noted in the caption that the orca hunting group had two baby orcas, known as calves, who basically tagged along to see and learn from the hunt.

Cuddly Predators

When orcas hunt, they congregate in packs like wolves and act like a team to take down prey. Besides dolphins, they are known to eat fish, squid, sharks, sea turtles, penguins, seals, walruses, and sea lions.

They sit at the top of the oceanic food chain, aside from us humans.

While it seems like orcas everywhere are suddenly attacking boats, these are relatively rare occurrences if you factor in that there are something like 50,000 killer whales around the world.

And even though they're big and brawny, they are still vulnerable to outside factors such as habitat loss, prey depletion, pollution, and — yes — harassment from aggressive whale watchers.

So if you see these magnificent creatures out in the wild, please keep your distance.

More on killer whales: Orcas Strike Again, Sinking Another Yacht

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