We all know dolphins, right? They are one of the cutest marine mammals. These animals are loved for their beautiful cuteness, incredible performance, and above all friendliness.
We all also know about sharks, right? When the word about a shark comes to our mind we think of this animal as a very dangerous predator that can attack and feed on human flesh with its several rows of up to 300 dagger-like teeth.
So, we can very very clearly state that the much we love dolphins and crave to be with them, that much we have fear of sharks and want to stay away from them.
Yes, it’s possible for Dolphins to kill sharks, but dolphins keep themselves away from sharks until and unless it’s a do-or-die situation for them regarding self-defense. Dolphins aren’t as aggressive as sharks are, so it can be possibly hard for them to kill sharks in their initial attempts.
Sharks are larger, greater, more aggressive, powerful, and more predatory as compared to those of the Dolphins. So, it’s very easy for a shark to kill a dolphin if it wants to.
But, sharks don’t usually attack dolphins and don’t consider them as their easy prey. So, a fight between sharks and dolphins is somewhat rare to notice.
Yes, it’s true that sharks are apex predators meaning that they are at top of the food chain and don’t have any natural predators that will feed upon them.
But yes, sharks try to attack young, weak, or sick dolphins sometimes thinking of them as easy prey.
So, in self-defense dolphin pods (group of dolphins) can attack a shark mostly in its belly and nose region.
And, this may result in the shark avoiding and fleeing away from the dolphins or getting killed by the dolphins if the fight is critical with dolphins in a group having their strength in numbers.
And so, this makes the statement of dolphins killing sharks true.
Can one dolphin kill a shark?
In general, it’s not so easy for a dolphin to kill a shark. Sharks are more powerful and aggressive than dolphins. So, dolphins can win over a shark with their strength in numbers when in a pod (dolphins’ group).
Whatever it is, their strength in numbers when in a pod depends on the group size and species type.
Just for example, if we talk about the Antarctic Orca which is the largest dolphin species in the world, then two to three orcas can kill a shark or make it flee away.
In the other case, if we talk about shark species like the Dwarf Lantern Shark (Etmopterus perryi) which is the smallest shark in the world (it’s smaller than a human hand) then, a dolphin can easily kill that smallest shark.
It is important here to note that Orcas hunt in deadly pods and these are family groups of up to 40 individuals or even more. So, if we take the count of a 40 orcas pod attacking a shark (let it be the Great White Shark or the Hammerhead Shark) then it can very easily kill it.
If we talk about the deadliest Sharks like the Great White Sharks comparing it with the Orcas (largest dolphin species), then we can say that Orcas are much bigger and faster than the Great White Sharks, and this directly gives the Orcas an advantage when hunting in big groups.
That’s why I said that the group size and the species type matter a lot to give the direct concise answer to the question asking if a dolphin can kill a shark or not.
Why are sharks afraid of dolphins?
There are different reasons why sharks are afraid of dolphins. Sharks may be afraid by looking at the pod size with many dolphins, self-defense aggressiveness of the dolphins, their predatory nature, noticing dolphins’ speed, rostrum, and agility as well.
Now again, if you want a more concise answer to this question then you must take into consideration the pod size and species type of the Dolphin into account. Depending on these you’ll get the answer.
Just like if we take the example of Orcas then it has been known that they do hunt, attack, and eat sharks like makos, hammerhead sharks, great white sharks, thrashers, and even the largest whale sharks. Not only sharks, but they do also attack the whales as well which are much much bigger than the sharks.
In general, the majority of the people will consider dolphins very friendly. So, it is very important to note that not all dolphins are friendly in nature.
The friendly behaviour of dolphins comes to our mind because we have seen species of Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncates) jumping and playing and doing acrobatic spins in the air in parks and large aquariums.
But, you should also note that these Bottlenose dolphins, in reality, aren’t as much as you may think. In fact, they have been often reported attacking and killing harbor porpoises and sharks by attacking them in groups and even feeding on them.
If these dolphins feel that they are threatened by a shark, then they can go into self-defense mode thus killing a shark or overpowering it when they are in a large pod.
That’s why sharks are afraid of dolphins and rather prefer to attack weak dolphins, vulnerable dolphin calves, and alone moving individuals.
Do dolphins protect humans from sharks?
Dolphins do protect humans from sharks either knowingly or unknowingly. Sharks usually avoid going near a large pod of dolphins, and this is a straight advantage of protection to humans if they stay nearby a dolphin pod.
Dolphins have strength in numbers because they are highly social animals and stick close to each other forming a large pod. They defend one another when they sense any possible danger.
It’s when they feel any predator like shark approaching them, they start chasing and ramming the shark or may even kill it by attacking the predator from different sides.
Being social animals, dolphins care for their young ones, weak and injured ones, and vulnerable ones, and are always ready to protect them with a do-or-die role if they sense any danger.
So, it’s when they see any shark approaching nearby they try to attack it, and in doing so they help protect any human or other prey lying nearby.
One disadvantage to sharks is that they are solitary animals for the most part, and try to hunt and attack all alone. And, this is an advantage of protection to dolphins who roam and stay in large pods.
Instances of dolphins knowingly helping humans from shark attacks have been reported. It was when someone fell in the mid-ocean, dolphins approached him and helped him come to the surface by swimming under him and pushing him upward to the surface water.
How Do Dolphins Fight Sharks?
Dolphins’ natural instinct to stay in large pods together, their social behaviour towards each other, great intelligence power, better speed, hydrodynamics, agility, communication, and awesome echolocating capacity aid them to fight against sharks.
Their social behaviour helps them to stay together, care for each other, and defend each other when in severe danger.
Their intelligence can be well compared to those of the humans as they sense danger, and quickly respond to it by chasing the sharks.
Their speed, agility, and perfect flexibility in movement in water are all due to their perfect hydrodynamic physical makeover that do help them to move and act fast and steadily when inside water.
Their way of communicating with each other is just awesome. They send whistles and other varied sounds which help them to echolocate each other and communicate very well so that they stay together in a group.
Moreover, Dophins have strong snouts that they do use to attack sharks in their sensitive regions that include the sharks’ soft belly parts, nostrils regions, and sensitive gills causing wounds or severe injuries to them.
Dolphins usually take advantage of their large pod with each of the individuals being extremely agile enough in their movement, and with their long bony snout they do lethal strikes to the sharks’ sensitive regions mentioned above.
These are how dolphins fight sharks and defend themselves when the need arises.