False killer whales are very social and gregarious. They live in small groups of 10 to 20 individuals, which are part of larger groups of 100 or more. They are often seen with other cetacean species, especially bottlenose dolphins. False killer whales and Atlantic bottlenose dolphins are very closely related, and can produce fertile offspring together. False killer whales prefer tropical to temperate water deeper than 1000m. They eat squid and large fish, such as mahi mahi or large salmon, and they share their food with one another. They have even been known to offer food to human boaters, snorkelers and divers.
At up to 5.96m long, male false killer whales are larger than their 5m long female counterparts. They can weigh up to 1360kg, and have a maximum lifespan of 63 years. Female false killer whales live slightly longer than males. False killer whales reproduce infrequently, usually only calving once every 7 years. Humans are their only known predator, although they are occasionally attacked by orcas as well. False killer whales may occasionally attack smaller dolphin species as well.
Threats to the false killer whale include bycatch in fishing operations, anthropogenic noise, high power sonar, and hunting by humans in Indonesia, Japan and the West Indies. They are also frequently involved in mass strandings, the cause of which is not conclusively known.
|Call Type(s)||Call Description(s)||Frequency Ranges||Source Levels (dB with reference to 1 micropascal)|
|Communication||Low and high frequency pulse trains, 0.5 second whistles||Whistles are 5kHz upsweeps|
|Echolocation||Broadband clicks||Centered at 40kHz||201 to 225|