Spyhopping Orcas

Orca spyhopping

When spyhopping, killer whale rises and holds position partially out of the water, exposing its head, this is visually akin to a human treading water. Spyhopping is controlled and slow, and can last for minutes at a time if the orca is sufficiently inquisitive about whatever (or whomever) it is viewing. Spyhopping often occurs during a “mugging” situation, where the focus of attention is on a boat rather than on other nearby whales. Generally, the killer whale does not appear to swim to maintain its “elevated” position while spyhopping, instead relying on exceptional buoyancy control and positioning with pectoral fins.