Killer whales, or orcas - Latin for 'lower world' - were named to reflect their renowned predatory nature. However, this encounter off the coast of New Zealand is one of several episodes of friendly interaction between orcas and boats that have been reported recently. Orcas stick together in close-knit groups called pods but sometimes the young venture out to have some fun with locals. The size of a resident pod varies from as few as three to as many as 50 individuals who tend to travel within specific ranges. New Zealand's orcas prey largely on rays and small sharks, and sometimes dolphins, but have never been implicated in an attack on humans.
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