Dolphins are notorious for their supreme intelligence, agility, and playful behavior. They are found in a wide range of the world’s oceans and rivers and have a lifespan of typically between 35 and 40 years.
These incredibly smart animals have some of the most fascinating hunting techniques in the world, including working together with local fishermen in Brazil to catch fish that slip through fishing nets.
But today, we’re going to take a closer look at the more sinister side of dolphins, and answer a question many of our readers are eager to find the answer to. Are dolphins dangerous?
For the most part, dolphins are not dangerous. However, find yourself on the wrong side of a dolphin and you may end up bitten, rammed, or even in the emergency medical room fighting for your life. These animals can at times be dangerous and are certainly capable of killing a human.
Are Dolphins Really Dangerous?
Although dolphins have an inviting appearance and always look like they are happy and friendly, this is not always the case.
Just because dolphins seem like they have a smile on their face doesn’t necessarily mean they are safe, and in fact, this is just their anatomy making them look this way.
Dolphins have been responsible for more than just a few vicious and even fatal attacks on humans, so it’s important to note that they can be dangerous and are not always the friendly animals often portrayed.
Bottlenose dolphins have a set of between 74 and 104 sharp teeth that they use to rip apart prey before consuming it.
But these teeth are also used to bite humans should the dolphin feel threatened or intimidated. Biting is not the only form of attack for dolphins, they also have an incredibly strong snout that they use to ram their prey.
Even some of the largest sharks in our oceans are afraid of dolphins as they are capable of killing them with one swift blow to the soft underbelly of sharks, often causing internal damage and even death.
Dolphins are able to swim at speeds of around 20mph in short bursts, so if they decide to ram you then can cause serious injury that will likely leave you in the emergency room.
Valerie Ryan was attacked by a dolphin when it plowed into her with its snout and left the woman with six spinal fractures, three broken ribs as well as a damaged lung, and PTSD.
Dolphins are not always the cute and innocent animals that they appear to be, and they’re more than capable of killing a human should they attack.
Are Dolphins Aggressive Towards Humans?
For the most part, dolphins are not particularly aggressive towards humans, but they are wild animals that can be unpredictable and should always be treated with respect.
Encountering a dolphin in the wild may seem like the dolphin is being friendly and curious. But oftentimes the dolphin may actually be showing signs of aggression or disturbance.
This is why it’s important not to engage with dolphins in the wild and always take steps to move away, and do not engage or pursue interaction.
A dolphin’s false grin can make these animals seem like they are happy and friendly, but it’s untrue as they are simply unable to change their facial expressions due to their anatomy.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) advises against swimming with dolphins for this exact reason, as it’s much more dangerous than people think.
Remember that dolphins are predators and not the friendly, harmless animals that people think they are.
Always be cautious around dolphins in the wild and take steps to ensure you are not in harm’s way.
Are Dolphins Friendly To Humans?
Although it’s important to always stay vigilant around dolphins, it is true that oftentimes they can be friendly and curious towards humans.
Scientists are not exactly sure why, but tales of dolphins befriending humans go far back in history and indicate that dolphins have a real curiosity for humans.
Dolphins in captivity build incredibly strong bonds with their trainers, although it’s important to remember that they are often deprived of food in captivity to perform tricks, so this bond may be motivated by food.
These animals are arguably the most intelligent in our oceans, they have a brain that is very large and they’ve also adapted over the last 50 million years.
They are excellent at problem-solving and show signs that they are self-aware, so they are able to connect with humans on a deeper level than most other animals can.
Do Dolphins Try To Drown You?
Dolphins are incredibly smart animals that understand we are not on their menu, so it’s unlikely that they will try to drown you.
Instead, if they want to attack you they will opt for a bite or ramming you, which can be incredibly painful and leave you needing emergency attention.
It’s incredibly rare for humans to be attacked by a dolphin, but there’s no doubt that if these animals did want to drown you they are certainly capable of doing so.
Are Dolphins Dangerous To Swim With?
Yes, it is certainly dangerous to swim with dolphins. As mentioned earlier these animals are armed with a set of teeth and supreme intelligence, so if they feel threatened or stressed they may attack.
One of the most dangerous aspects of swimming with dolphins is that you never know how they are feeling because of their anatomy.
They always look like they are happy and smiling, when inside they may be angry, upset, stressed, and ready to attack.
Even dolphins are swim-with attractions that have been known to seriously hurt humans by butting and biting people, resulting in lacerations and broken bones.
Swimming with dolphins is not the harmless fun that so many people think it is, and it in fact comes with risks and potential hazards as does dealing with all wild animals.
So, are dolphins dangerous? Not particularly, but they certainly can be if they feel threatened, intimidated, or stressed.
It’s important to remember that dolphins are wild animals that are predators in their habitats and despite their permanent “smile” they are capable of killing humans.
Dolphins are highly intelligent animals that are feared by even the largest apex predators in our oceans.
They have a set of sharp teeth and an incredibly hard and strong snout that they use to ram into people.
Being rammed by a dolphin swimming at 20mph can be life-threatening and leave you with injuries that could stay with you forever, as well as PTSD from the incident as in the case with Valerie mentioned earlier.
Always be vigilant around dolphins and remember that despite their appearance they too have bad days and exhibit bad behavior sometimes.
Thanks for taking the time to read this post and feel free to stick around to learn more about dolphins and other marine animals.
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Hi, I’m George – the founder of MarinePatch. I created this blog as marine wildlife has been my passion for many years and I’ve spent decades learning and dedicating myself to documenting all I can about the topic.