False killer whales are found in tropical to warm temperate zones, generally in relatively deep, offshore waters of all three major oceans. They do not generally range into latitudes higher than 50° in either hemisphere. However, some animals occasionally move into higher latitude waters. They are found in many semi-enclosed seas and bays (including the Sea of Japan, Bohai/Yellow Sea, Red Sea, and Persian Gulf), but they only occasionally occur in the Mediterranean Sea (Leatherwood et al. 1989). There are a few records for the Baltic Sea, which are considered extralimital. There are also records of false killer whales being found far into large rivers in China.
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