Killer Whale Pod Pictured Playing With Otter: 'Like David and Goliath'

An encounter between a pod of orcas and an otter off the coast of the Scottish Highlands has been documented in a series of breathtaking photographs.

The images, which show a group of orcas chasing and toying with the otter, were captured on Thursday by local wildlife enthusiast Karen Munro, who likened the incident to the biblical clash between David and Goliath.

Munro said she spotted the pod in the North Sea waters off Forss, one of the northernmost parts of the U.K. As she took pictures of the orcas, an otter scurried into the water.

The pod then approached it "at speed," and started playing with it.

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"Initially the pod kept well offshore, but then changed tack and came in close below the wind farm where we were treated to unbelievable views," she wrote in a post on Facebook on Friday.

"Such a fabulous sight but as per usual I was on the roof with adrenaline and am only just starting to look back on what I saw now. I really do wish I could be calm and collected during a sighting, instead of a raving banshee."

The pictures show at least two orcas chasing the smaller mammal through the water and lunging at it, as it desperately tries to get away.

"If the otter made it out, it must have been exhausted," Munro said.

She captioned one image: "One of the females chasing the Otter. It was rather like David & Goliath."

Though it isn't clear if the otter survived the encounter, Munro doesn't believe she was witnessing hunting behavior.

"Looking back I would say... maybe [the orcas] were messing with [the otter], as the bull didn't join in and the matriarch wasn't very much involved that I saw," she said.

"They appeared to have had a kill only 10 minutes before this, although we didn't see what it was."

Orcas are highly intelligent and social creatures, and adults are known to teach hunting techniques like ramming and tail-slapping to younger generations by playing with prey animals, which can lose their lives in the process, due to the orcas' sheer size and power.

Orcas can grow up to 32 feet in length and can weigh up to six tons, which is around 500 times more than the weight of an average otter.

Munro identified one of the orcas in the pod as Busta, a bull that's well-known to locals thanks to the distinctive shape of its dorsal fin.

It's part of the nine-strong Northern Isles Community 64s pod that is spotted in the area regularly throughout the year.

Orcas harassing an otter in Alaska
A stock image shows orcas harassing a sea otter in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska. The predators often pass hunting techniques onto younger generations through play. mtnmichelle/iStock