Dolphins are some of the cutest-looking animals in our ocean, but they are surprisingly effective predators that are incredibly intelligent too.
These marine mammals are some of the smartest animals in our ocean and are not so innocent after all.
In this post, we take a closer look at the dangers of dolphins and answer can dolphins kill humans?
Yes, dolphins can and do kill humans. These animals are much more dangerous than given credit for, with their appearance giving a false smile that may be hiding anger, frustration, and other emotions.
Are Dolphins Dangerous To Humans?
Despite the dolphin’s seemingly friendly and calm appearance, they are much more dangerous to humans than you may think.
Dolphins are fast, agile, and sometimes aggressive animals that are more than capable of seriously injuring, or even killing humans.
They have a set of sharp teeth that they use to bite humans if they feel threatened or intimidated. But their most damaging weapon is their strong, powerful skull.
Dolphins kill even the most fierce predators by ramming into them with their snouts, causing internal damage to the target that often results in death.
Sharks, other dolphins, and even people have died by being “butted” by a dolphin’s snout.
They are able to swim at speeds of 60km/h, so being hit by a charging dolphin can be like being hit by a car.
How Many Dolphins Have Killed Humans?
Attacks from dolphins on humans are rare, but they do happen. One of the biggest risks of being around dolphins is that you can never know how they are feeling.
The anatomy of dolphins is that they always look like they are smiling and friendly, and given that they do tricks it seems like they are just incredibly intelligent.
However, the reality is that their jaws are stuck like this, and although they are incredibly intelligent, when performing at shows they may have been drugged or starved in order to perform tricks for the crowd.
They are also subject to loud noises which can stress the dolphins out, making their behavior erratic and unpredictable.
Sadly, dolphin attacks are on the rise, with more and more attacks being reported from people being bitten and wounded when in “swim-with” type experiences.
There is one famous instance that Nat Geo WILD documented of a dolphin killing a man after ramming into him in São Paulo, Brazil.
A wild dolphin comes so close to the shoreline that two men cannot believe it, so they get in the water to take a closer look.
The dolphin rams one of the men in the stomach just a few feet from the shore, causing internal injuries and leading to the man later dying that same day in the hospital.
Why Do Dolphins Kill Humans?
Dolphins feed mainly on fish, squid, shrimp, and other small crustaceans, and are intelligent enough to know that we are not on the menu.
So why are we seeing an increase in attacks from dolphins?
These animals do not have anything against humans, but people can put dolphins in a position of stress, which can mean they are much more likely to strike when in this stressed state.
Dolphins that are in captivity can be extremely stressed without showing it, which can cause them to exhibit behavior that is unpredictable.
Loud music, lack of food, and being contained in such a small space day in day out can all compound into an incredibly stressful environment for a wild animal.
This puts the dolphin in a state where they may react and bite if they feel agitated. Some dolphins have even been known to drag people under the water with them.
A 10-year-old girl was aggressively bitten and dragged underwater by two dolphins during a “swim-with” experience in Cancun, Mexico.
The reality is that these animals are not the incredibly friendly, happy, and smiley dolphins that they are portrayed as in these experiences.
They are wild animals that are in a stressful environment, so it comes as no surprise that they lash out and attack people on occasion.
You wouldn’t allow your child to swim with a shark in an enclosed container, so why a dolphin?
Are Dolphins Friendly Towards Humans?
Although dolphins are perceived to be happy, intelligent creatures that are incredibly friendly toward humans, this is not the case.
Dolphins can live as long as 20 – 30 years in the wild, whereas in captivity they suffer a great deal and usually only live around 15 years.
Stressed, agitated dolphins are super friendly towards humans like they are made out to be, they are much more dangerous than people think they are.
People have been bitten and pulled under by dolphins so much that the National Marine Fisheries Service has released several warnings about swimming with them.
Whilst dolphins are not aggressive towards humans, they are not friendly either. They won’t go out of their way to attack you unless they feel threatened or panicked.
Wild dolphins are more friendly towards humans than dolphins in captivity, because they are living in their natural environment and are much happier.
The word friendly can give off the wrong impression when it comes to dolphins, it’s more of a curiosity that dolphins have towards us.
So, can dolphins kill humans? Absolutely, and they have. Although it’s incredibly rare to be killed and even attacked by a dolphin, it does happen.
Dolphins that are in captivity can be stressed, hungry, and full of anger, which can lead to behavior that many don’t expect from these seemingly happy animals.
It’s important to remember that dolphins are wild animals and predators at that. They are widely considered to be the smartest animals in the ocean and have emotions just like humans do.
Hopefully, this post has been helpful and you’ve learned something new today about dolphins and why and how they can injure and even kill people.
I hope this post has not put you off dolphins but more been educational in understanding why these animals can behave this way.
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!