Dolphins can be found all over the world in all seven oceans and in many freshwaters too, with over 42 different species, they vary in behavior, diet, and size.
These highly intelligent marine mammals are notorious for their acrobatic displays and excellent hunting techniques, often working together to secure their prey.
Whilst dolphins may seem pretty harmless, with a cute and friendly appearance, there’s actually more than meets the eye to these cetaceans.
Today, we’re going to take a look at just how dangerous dolphins can be and specifically answer a common question that often comes up when discussing these animals.
Are dolphins more dangerous than sharks?
If this question has ever crossed your mind, stick around as by the end of this post you’ll know all there is to know about which of these predators are more dangerous.
Let’s get into it…
Are Dolphins More Dangerous Than Sharks?
No, dolphins are not more dangerous than sharks. Whilst dolphins are formidable predators and are made of almost pure muscle, they’re not typically aggressive or dangerous toward humans.
In fact, dolphins are naturally curious and often swim up to divers in the wild to get a closer look, making for a magical experience that the diver will never forget.
Sharks, on the other hand, are much more dangerous than dolphins as they’re equipped with a set of razor-sharp teeth and are not as intelligent as dolphins.
One misidentification from the shark, and this powerhouse may act on instinct and bite, which can cause massive damage to humans and quite easily kill them.
For this reason, it’s clear that sharks are more dangerous than dolphins, but it’s important to note that both animals must be treated with the respect they deserve.
Have Dolphins Killed More Humans Than Sharks?
No, dolphins have not killed more humans than sharks. Whilst dolphin attacks on humans do happen, they are very RARE and happen much less frequently than shark attacks.
According to the University of Florida in the United States alone, there were 42 confirmed unprovoked shark bites in 2022.
The problem is, sharks don’t have the best vision when it comes to dusk and dawn, so they can easily misidentify people for being prey such as a seal or sea lions.
This can happen very easily, especially if the swimmer is wearing a wet suit which can make them look like a big hunk of blubber for the shark to feast on.
On the other hand, most dolphin species do not feed on large mammals and instead feed mostly on fish, squid, and crustaceans.
This means that there’s very little chance of a dolphin attacking a human due to the animal misidentifying someone.
Whilst it’s true that dolphin attacks do happen, they occur mostly from dolphins that are held in captivity and are in cramped or stressful conditions.
Even whilst in these conditions, it’s still incredibly rare for a dolphin to lash out and attack its trainer.
There are only a handful of confirmed reports of dolphins killing humans in the wild, whereas there are many confirmed cases of sharks causing human fatalities.
Can Dolphins Beat Sharks In A Fight?
Dolphins would be the clear winner in a battle with a shark, largely because they are more intelligent and live in pods of sometimes hundreds of individuals strong.
In fact, the largest species of dolphin, orcas, are known to actively hunt and kill great white sharks for their fatty nutritious livers.
Orcas and dolphins are INCREDIBLY intelligent and seem to know exactly where to attack the shark to immobilize it, in its soft underbelly.
They will ram the shark repeatedly in the belly and gills so that it’s difficult for the animal to breathe and it ultimately drowns.
In a one-on-one fight, large sharks such as bull sharks and great white sharks would beat a single dolphin, but these encounters are rare, with the dolphins usually having backup.
It’s also important to note that dolphins are more agile and much faster than sharks, they could easily evade a hungry shark if they needed to.
Are Sharks Scared Of Dolphins?
Sharks are known to be scared of dolphins and will often leave their feeding grounds when a pod of dolphins swim through.
Whilst most dolphin and shark encounters are peaceful, sometimes the more aggressive dolphins will slam into them with their snout or using the full force of their bodies.
A large shark could grab onto an aggressive dolphin, but the dolphins will outnumber the shark multiple times over so the shark will try to escape.
Orcas are apex predators of the ocean, and when these come to town, sharks will leave their regular feeding grounds to avoid them.
A pod of orcas can make quick work of even the largest sharks, so it’s not worth the risk to hang around and find out if they are hungry.
Are Dolphins Even Dangerous?
Dolphins are not particularly dangerous to humans so long as they are treated with respect and a safe distance is maintained.
Most attacks on humans occur when the dolphin feels like it’s being attacked or provoked, which can happen when swimmers try to reach their hand out or pet the dolphin.
Wild dolphins rarely encounter humans so can behave very differently from how dolphins in captivity behave around humans.
This is why it’s super important to never approach a pod of wild dolphins and always keep your distance, if they feel any threat to themselves, their young, or the pod, they may attack.
An attack from a pod of dolphins would be swift and deadly, so it’s wise to always be cautious around these animals even whilst they seem relatively harmless.
In summary, NO, dolphins ARE NOT more dangerous than sharks. Whilst they can be dangerous at times, dolphins are relatively safe to be around so long as they are treated with respect.
Sharks on the other hand are powerful, unpredictable predators that act mostly on instinct and not intelligence.
This makes them much more dangerous than dolphins as if they happen to misidentify a person they may attack.
An attack from a shark, even a nibble can be fatal. They’re armed with a set of razor-sharp teeth that can cut through flesh with ease.
Hopefully, this post has been insightful and you’ve learned why sharks are much more dangerous than dolphins.
Catch you in the next one!
Hi, I’m George – the founder of MarinePatch. I created this blog as marine wildlife has been my passion for many years. I’ve spent over a decade in the marine wildlife industry and spent years out in the field conducting research. In today’s modern world, an online blog is the best place for me to share my findings and reach as many people as possible to help educate and inspire others. Enjoy your time here and you’re welcome back anytime!