Watch: This is how orcas ‘spyhop’ to get a look at what’s going on above the surface of the water

In footage captured by Erin Dunglinson, one of the many delightful behaviour patterns of whales can be seen. Spyhopping, as the name suggests, is when a whale sticks its head above water to get a look at what’s going on above the surface. This behaviour often takes place when whales are socialising, or interacting with a boat of humans they want to get a better look at.

Spyhopping also takes place amongst orcas when prey is detected. An individual whale will conduct a series of spyhops from different locations around the prey, then vocalise to the group members to do the same (to possibly prepare for an attack.

Orcas aren’t the only ones to spyhop, though. The great white shark and oceanic white tip shark have also been known to try it.