To the surprise of whale watchers and marine biologists, dozens of exotic orca whales have been spotted off the coast of the Pacific Northwest, near Vancouver Island. Usually found cruising along California's continental shelf, these strangers from the south go by many names - exotics, transients and outer-coastal orcas.
"They have a little bit of a different look to them," Mark Malleson, a local whale watcher, told the Seattle Times, explaining that they're not identical to the resident orcas. "They're just a little fatter and sassier." He said he's seen the exotics more frequently over the past four months than in the previous 18 years.
The resident whales have long settled in the Pacific Northwest, though they've yet to cross paths with the newcomers, who haven't moved into the Puget Sound, where the residents live. Even if the two groups did meet, they would likely live in peace. Resident whales eat a diet of almost only Chinook salmon, whereas the outer-coastal whales hunt seals, porpoises and marine mammals.