The mighty lion might be the king of land predators, but ocean predators are just as powerful and deadly. Surprisingly, some of the largest ocean animals, such as the blue whale, are not considered dangerous predators at all, since their diet consists just of krill, which are small shrimplike creatures. The scariest ocean predators are smaller -- but just as deadly -- hunters.
Despite their names, orcas or killer whales are actually members of the dolphin family. Killer whales hunt ferociously, killing seals, young whales, squid and even sea lions. They hunt not only in in the water, they've been known to jump out and catch seals off the ice.
Sharks are probably the first animals that come to mind when you think of ocean predators. Great white sharks inspire lots of fear in swimmers, but some other sharks are just as scary -- at least if you're a smaller sea animal. For example, lemon sharks hunt other sharks, stingrays and seabirds. And grey reef sharks sometimes hunt octopuses and squid.
Seals might not look fierce to humans, but they are fierce hunters. A seal's staple is fish. However, some types of seals hunt penguins, small octopus and squid. Depending on what's available locally, they might eat different types of fish and crustaceans.
It's hard to define polar bears as either land or marine predators, since they live in both places, but they hunt mostly in the icy Arctic waters. These sweet-looking, almost-huggable animals are fierce predators who hunt primarily seals. To catch his prey, the polar bear either waits for a seal to come out from underwater to breathe, or he swims after the seal under the ice. Baby polar bears live with mom for about two years to learn how to hunt. Polar bears have no predators except humans.
Tammy Dray has been writing since 1996. She specializes in health, wellness and travel topics and has credits in various publications including Woman's Day, Marie Claire, Adirondack Life and Self. She is also a seasoned independent traveler and a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. Dray is pursuing a criminal justice degree at Penn Foster College.