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Killer Whales



Killer Whales
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.08

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    cohesive, lob-tailing, spy-hopping, transient, hearing, eyespots, striking, orcas, generate, death, stance, pods, pectoral, reputation, complex, mainly
     content words:    Inupiaq Eskimo


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Killer Whales
By Sheri Skelton
  

1     Killer whales, or orcas, are the world's largest dolphins. They are also very powerful predators. They are fast swimmers and can maneuver themselves very well in the water. They live in all the oceans of the world but are most numerous in the Arctic or Antarctic. The bodies of killer whales are streamlined and sleek. They have adapted to living in very cold waters. Underneath their skin, killer whales have a thick layer of body fat, or blubber, that helps to keep them warm. Killer whales also have a high rate of metabolism. This helps them generate more body heat.
 
2     Killer whales have a very striking appearance. They have black backs and white sides and stomachs. Their dorsal and pectoral fins are black. Just above and a little behind each eye, the killer whales have white eyespots. The dorsal fin of the male killer whale is the tallest of any whale in the world. This fin can be up to six feet tall. The pectoral fins of killer whales are large and rounded. The fins look like paddles.
 
3     Killer whales have very good eyesight both in and out of water. They are noisy animals and communicate with clicks and whistles. They also have a very acute sense of hearing. Killer whales use echolocation. They throw out sound waves and listen for echoes. Through the echoes, killer whales are able to determine the size, the location, and the shape of objects.

Paragraphs 4 to 8:
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