Are Sharks Scared of Dolphins? [2022]


Are Sharks Scared of Dolphins? [2022]

Table of Contents

In short, yes, sharks will tend to stay away from dolphins like the plague. Dolphins are aggressive animals with great intelligence who live in pods. When they meet a shark that isn’t friendly, the entire pod can attack it. Sharks will avoid pods with a large number of dolphins as a result.

Asking “are sharks scared of dolphins?” does imply that we understand how sharks feel fear, which we certainly do not. However, when we look at their behaviour we can indirectly determine that they are often less-than-keen on the idea of fighting a dolphin.

Dolphins can fight sharks successfully thanks to their delicate skin and flexible backbone. The vertical motion of the shark is limited due to its horizontal tail. The horizontal fins that extend from dolphins’ tails allow them to turn quickly.

A dolphins head has exceptionally thick skin. This means the dolphins’ snouts can bang against the shark’s soft gut, causing it serious damage. The initial hit is usually enough to make the shark flee.

When compared to sharks, dolphins obviously also have an intelligence advantage. Because of their social evolution and the fact that they hunt in pods, dolphins can take on even the largest great white sharks. Because they hunt alone and move slowly, sharks are no match for a school of dolphins. Sharks have been recorded avoiding areas of the water where dolphins are known to congregate in order to swim to safer areas.

Watch a pod of Dolphins chase off a shark in order to keep a diver safe.

Are dolphins and sharks related?

Sharks and dolphins are two different species, despite similarities in their appearance. Sharks can live totally submerged for their entire lives without difficulty breathing in the water due to their lack of body heat and the presence of gills. Dolphins must surface every four to five minutes to breathe since they lack gills.

Sawfish, skates, and rays are all part of the Elasmobranch order, which also includes sharks. Because cartilage, rather than bone, makes up the majority of their skeletons, they are known as cartilaginous fish.

shark gills
Sharks are known as are known as cartilaginous fish.

Whales and porpoises and dolphins, on the other hand are part of the cetacean family. Dolphins in perticular are the only marine mammals without scales. Instead, their skin is smooth and springy. They have a body temperature close to humans and the ability to give birth to live infants. They must surface every four to five minutes to breathe since they lack gills. They are unable to breathe underwater, despite the fact that their bodies have developed to become aquatic life over time.

dolphins cute
Dolphins are part of the cetacean family

Can dolphins kill sharks?

Yes, dolphins can kill sharks in rare circumstances. Dolphins can attack a shark in pods, making them very dangerous to lone sharks looking for a quick meal. After being attacked by a swarm of angry dolphins, the shark will usually end up dead and its body will wash up on a beach.

We may have answered “are sharks scared of dolphins?”, but can dolphins actively kills sharks? Sharks, unlike dolphins, are solitary hunters and swimmers who migrate in pods throughout the ocean. If a solitary dolphin is attacked by a shark, it will inform its pod, which will battle the shark and protect the injured dolphin.

A dolphin’s most lethal weapon against a shark is its snout, which it will use as a battering ram to protect itself. Dolphin pods will either ram the shark from below, causing severe damage to its delicate underbelly, or attack the shark’s gills, preventing it from breathing and drowning. The shark will be killed in either scenario. Sharks have begun to avoid places where dolphin pods are present as a result of this inappropriate targeting behaviour.

Still, a single dolphin is unlikely to take on a shark, but the orca (also known as a killer whale) is far more powerful, and one of the only mammals capable of terrifying a large shark! The strength of their huge tail fins will be employed to flip the shark over before their razor-sharp teeth tear out its liver.

What are sharks afraid of?

Sharks are among the top predators of the oceans, yet they are increasingly nervous of humans, as their presence in the oceans represents something unfamiliar to the sharks. This has often led sharks to become frightened to the point of attacking divers or people splashing around in the water.

Individual dolphins may be attacked by sharks, but hunting pods of dolphins is extremely risky. These pods have been seen herding sharks together and then assaulting them by forcing their snouts into the sharks’ gills in an attempt to suffocate them. As a result, sharks tend to avoid areas of water where big pods of dolphins congregate, preferring instead to pursue lone or immature dolphins.

Dolphins have a substantial competitive advantage over sharks due to their speed. Because to their average weight of 5511.6 pounds (2500 kilogrammes), great white sharks are fairly slow when compared to their dolphin counterparts.

Dolphins also have a sleek body structure and silky, smooth skin that helps them to glide through the water with ease. Due to the vertical arrangement of their fins, they exhibit incredible flexibility and mobility. When a group of dolphins comes upon a lone shark, the shark has little chance of escape before the dolphins strike.

Finally, sharks are also exceedingly nervous about humans. Sharks, like other top predators, are naturally terrified of the unfamiliar, which includes humans. Sharks have been frightened to the point of attacking divers, resulting in inadvertent attacks on humans.

Although unprovoked shark attacks are extremely rare, they have and do still occur. These species appear to be frightened by human-made nets, traps, and other devices, which explains why they often do their best to avoid humans.

shark fishing
One of the biggest threats to sharks is infact humans as sharks are often caught in nets of fishing vessels and killed.

Dolphin vs Shark, who would win?

Despite dolphins being able to often stand a chance against sharks when in pods, sharks are typically recognised as the most dangerous predators in the water. When the opportunity presents itself, sharks will chase and consume young or lone dolphins without much trouble.

Even though it appears that the dolphins have the upper hand based on the topics previously covered, sharks generally are more of a threat to dolphins than the other way around.

Dolphins are highly clever animals, but even when they are in pods, they might become separated or be ignorant of a nearby shark. Sharks use this to be able to sneak up on dolphins and attack them with their formidable jaws. However, this must be done swiftly because a missed attempt allows the fast dolphin to run or cry out for rescue from its friends.

Dolphins, in addition to their intellect, have the capacity to employ echolocation. They can use this ability to send sound waves across the ocean to detect obstructions or possible shark attacks. They use this technique to navigate the water and escape sharks and other predators hiding in the darkness. Fish, crabs, and other species also use echolocation to seek prey.

The only real exception to this rule is the killer whale. Instead of asking “are sharks scared of dolphins?” we are probably better off asking if sharks are scared of killer whales. Killer whales, which like eating great white shark livers, regard sharks as prey. Three sharks without livers washed ashore on the South African coast in 2017. Orcas were thought to have devoured these sharks.

Killer whales have a reputation for turning great white sharks over with their tails or just attacking and killing them.

Found our post “Are sharks scared of dolphins?” interesting? Find more educational resources like this and all the latest science news on Scible News

References & Further Reading

Viegas, Jen (August 14, 2014). “Shark vs. Dolphin Battles Can Have Surprising Outcomes”Seeker – Science. World. Exploration. Seek for yourself.

Gibson, Q. A. (2006). NON‐LETHAL SHARK ATTACK ON A BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN (TURSIOPS SP.) CALF. Marine Mammal Science22(1), 190–197. Scible: 6O250GH

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