Do Whales Eat Penguins: Facts Around Various Types Of Whale


Do Whales Eat Penguins: Facts Around Various Types Of Whale

Whales are fierce hunters who prey on a large number of birds and animals. But do they eat penguins? Let us find out.

Whales eat penguins, but only a few of them. Most whale species do not prey on penguins and prefer feeding on krill, fish, shrimp, crabs, and the like. Penguins are eaten by toothed whales such as killer whales. However, killer whales are their most fierce predators.

You might have several questions regarding whales and their eating habits, especially when it comes to eating penguins. Let us together answer some commonly asked questions.

Image Credits: “penguin group small” by Antarctica Bound is marked with CC BY-ND 2.0.

What whales eat penguins?

Whales eating penguins may sound like an anomaly, but it is absolutely possible. Let us tell you all about the whales that eat penguins.

Surprisingly, despite their fierce appetite, most whale varieties do not eat penguins. The only exception to this norm is killer whales or orcas. Penguins primarily occupy the regions in the Southern Hemisphere, such as Australia, New Zealand, and South America. They have innumerable predators like sharks, seals, and several other birds.

There are several land animals that prey on penguins, including snakes, lizards, and ferrets. Young penguins (even penguin eggs) also fall prey to numerous birds.

Do killer whales eat penguins?

Image credits: “Killer Whale” by eschipul is marked with CC BY-SA 2.0.

It is no secret that killer whales are apex predators and fierce hunters. But do they eat penguins? Let us find out. 

Killer whales eat a variety of animals, including penguins. In addition to penguins, they feed on moose, turtles, seabirds, and dugongs. Penguins are not enough to fulfill the diet requirements of killer whales. In order to derive sufficient energy from penguins, killer whales will have to eat a handful of penguins. 

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To gain more energy, killer whales feed on sharks and seals. These animals provide it with sufficient energy to keep them going. However, penguins do not provide them enough energy for sustenance. 

Do killer whales eat emperor penguins?

Image Credits: “Emperor Penguins” by Christopher.Michel is marked with CC BY 2.0.

Emperor penguins live in Antarctica and are among the biggest penguin species. So, do killer whales feed on them too? Let us find out.

Orcas or killer whales hunt on and eat emperor penguins as well. Although emperor penguins are the tallest of the penguin species, they are no match for orcas that grow up to 22 feet on average. Most recorded instances of killer whales feeding on penguins have occurred in the Antarctic region as well as the sub-Antarctic region. 

Besides emperor penguins, killer whales also eat various whale species, seals, sharks, and so on. They are fierce predators and have a huge appetite.

Do blue whales eat penguins?

Image Credits: “Blue Whales on the Surface by Dan Shapiro (NOAA)” by is marked with CC PDM 1.0.

Blue whales have a voracious appetite and eat quite indiscriminately. But do blue whales eat penguins? Let’s find out.

Blue whales do not feed on penguins. Blue whales are baleen creatures, meaning they have plates that sieve their food from the water. As such, blue whales can only feed on krill and other small fishes. Most of their diet is composed of krill. Penguins are relatively large for them, and it won’t be possible for the baleen plates to sift the bird through. 

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Penguins can only be consumed by toothed whales, like killer whales. Without teeth, it won’t be possible for the whale to bite into the bird.

Do beluga whales eat penguins?

Beluga whales are intriguing animals with a unique diet. However, does their diet include penguins? Let us find out. 

There have been no known records of beluga whales feeding on penguins. Beluga whales have a diverse diet that consists of squid, octopuses, snails, sandworms, shrimp, crabs, and clams. In addition, they also eat fish such as salmon, herring, and cod. However, belugas do not eat penguins. It is mostly orcas that feed on penguins.

Because of their diverse diet, beluga whales are often dubbed opportunistic feeders. They eat quite indiscriminately but mostly target animals that live at the bottom of the ocean, like squid, octopuses, and so on.

Do humpback whales eat penguins?

Wondering whether humpback whales feed on penguins? Together, let us learn more in this regard. 

Humpback whales do not eat penguins. Like blue whales, humpback whales are baleen animals which means that they do not have teeth to bite the penguin. Instead, they are equipped with baleen plates that filter their food from the water. Like other baleen creatures, humpback whales primarily feed on krill and other small fishes.

Humpback whales occasionally also feed on shrimps, octopuses, and other crustaceans. However, there is no recorded evidence of them feeding on penguins.

Which other animals eat penguins?

Interestingly, killer whales are not the only known predator of penguins. Let us find out which other animals feed on penguins.

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Besides killer whales, toothed whales are known to feed on penguins, although there are very few recorded instances of the same. Apart from whales, leopard seals prey on penguins frequently. Other animals include sheathbills, sea lions, sharks, and skuas.

As we have mentioned earlier, penguins are found in plenty in the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic regions. Therefore, they become the prey of several animals who occupy these regions. Young penguin chicks and eggs are also eaten by larger species.


Penguins are among the most vulnerable creatures since they have a large number of predators. They are preyed upon in water by animals like sea lions, fur seals, leopard seals, and sharks. On land, they are attacked by skua sea birds. Certain species of penguins known as ‘little penguins’ are attacked by weasels, foxes, cats, and dogs. Over the years, their population has declined considerably, and several conservatory measures have been taken to protect them.

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