Orcas filmed enjoying a 'spa' day in world-first footage

Orcas filmed enjoying a 'spa' day in world-first footage
Orcas are entertaining tourists on a boat in one of Chile's canals.
WooGlobe - Best of Internet / VideoElephant

Rare footage of orcas enjoying a pamper day has captured the internet's attention, thanks to the new National Geographic documentary series Incredible Animal Journeys.

In the clip, the orca can be seen using Antarctic icebergs to settle its itchy skin. They do this by rubbing up against the ice and using them as "scratching posts".

Due to some of the mammals living in some of the world's coldest waters, they're unable to shed skin. They have the option to swim around 7,000 miles to warmer climates to clear their skin, but instead, have cleverly turned to local vices for their skincare routine.

"We all need to look after our skin, but this pod of orca has a unique problem. Unable to molt in these sub-zero seas, a yellowy green algae builds up on their skin," Sarah Gibbs, producer of the show, told Newsweek. "This family pod has learned to exfoliate the outer surfaces of their skin using icebergs as scratching posts. It shows just how smart and resourceful orca are, and shows another side to these 'killer' whales."

Incredible Animal Journeys | Official Trailer | National

It's no surprise that orcas (also known as killer whales) are getting smarter after one study showed they're picking up frightening new behaviours.

In March 2019, researchers were stunned when they witnessed the first documented case of a pod of orcas working as a team to kill one of the largest animals on the planet, a blue whale.

Meanwhile, a small population of orcas in Spain and Portugal have started damaging boats, sometimes causing enough destruction to sink them.

Deborah Giles, an orca researcher at the University of Washington and the nonprofit Wild Orca explained toLive Science: "These are animals with an incredibly complex and highly evolved brain. They've got parts of their brain that are associated with memory and emotion that are significantly more developed than even in the human brain."

Incredible Animal Journeys Starts on 3rd December at 8pm

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