Dolphins are notorious for their supreme intelligence and agility, whilst sharks are known to be ferocious predators that dominate the oceans.
Despite the dolphin’s cute appearance, they can be quite aggressive and will defend themselves at all costs if threatened.
In this post, we’re going to answer a question that many have wondered about when taking a deep dive into the dolphin’s predatory status. Can dolphins kill sharks?
Yes, dolphins are more than capable of killing sharks. When a dolphin feels threatened by a shark, it enters a self-defense mode and will protect itself at all costs.
Can A Dolphin Take On A Shark?
It is no secret that sharks simply avoid dolphins, they swim away when they encounter them and will hesitate before attacking wounded or young dolphins.
Dolphins are more than capable of taking on sharks, and they do so in the wild much more than you might think.
It may come as a surprise to some but dolphins are actually armed with some incredible features that they use to immobilize and kill sharks.
They are able to swim at speeds of around 37mph and have a strong head and snout that they use to ram sharks in their soft bellies.
Why Are Sharks Afraid Of Dolphins?
Dolphins are mammals that live in pods and are extremely intelligent. They are much more dangerous than we humans give them credit for.
They are more than capable of protecting themselves and will even go out of their way to torment and attack sharks.
When dolphins see an aggressive shark, they will immediately attack it with the whole pod, not giving the shark any chance of survival.
This is why even the largest of sharks are afraid of dolphins, and they are often spotted swimming away from them to avoid confrontation.
It’s a pretty interesting interaction given that sharks are predators that are supposedly dominant in the oceans.
If dolphins feel at all threatened by the presence of a shark, no matter how big or small, they won’t hesitate to attack it and make it flee (if the shark is lucky).
The fact that dolphins live and travel in pods makes them incredibly dangerous for sharks, as sharks tend to be solitary creatures.
Being outnumbered in the ocean is not a good situation to be in, especially given that dolphins are faster, more agile, and can be aggressive.
The dolphin’s anatomy gives them the ability to be incredibly flexible, combine this with intelligence and a strong snout, it’s no wonder sharks are afraid of dolphins.
Sharks have a vertical tail which limits their up and down mobility, whereas a dolphin’s tail is verticle, and allows them to have great mobility and change direction quickly.
Dolphins’ heads are also incredibly thick and can act as a sort of battering ram to butt into sharks and other predators.
The way dolphins attack sharks is by swimming up underneath the sharks and slamming their snout into the underbelly of the shark, this leads to internal trauma and can critically wound a shark.
Some dolphins will even strategically aim their attacks to hit the shark in its gills, which are what the shark relies on to breathe.
A good shot to the gills can be capable of killing a shark immediately, another reason why sharks are afraid of dolphins.
Can Dolphins Kill Great White Sharks?
Great white sharks are known to be some of the largest, most aggressive species of sharks that account for many human shark attacks.
Although it is rare for dolphins and great white sharks to face off, given that dolphins travel in pods it would be fair to assume that the dolphins would win this fight.
Great white sharks can be gigantic, weighing as much as 1,110kg and being up to 7 meters in length. But they are not as agile or swift as a dolphin.
Sharks are opportunistic feeders and prefer to attack prey that is smaller than them, or at a significant disadvantage such as being injured.
Some sharks even prey on dolphins, but they would be no match for a pod of dolphins, with some pods containing 12 or more members.
The most likely scenario for a dolphin killing a great white shark would be an Orca, also known as a killer whale.
Orca are actually dolphins, and they are known for actively hunting and killing great white sharks for food.
More On Dolphins vs Sharks
The main advantage dolphins have over sharks is that they live in pods and are much more intelligent.
They often outnumber sharks multiple times over which gives the shark no chance at success.
However, in a one-on-one, the odds are much different, and in this scenario, a shark may have the upper hand.
That is not to suggest that sharks would win every time, and it’s more a case that the fight would be evenly matched.
But in reality, this is almost never the case, and dolphins have the support and backup of their pods, making them a force to be reckoned with, even for apex predators such as the great white shark.
So can dolphins kill sharks? Yes, absolutely. Dolphins are incredibly intelligent animals that are more than capable of killing a shark.
Dolphins live in pods, which means they live in groups of usually around 12 dolphins, however, some pods can be as strong as 1,000 members.
This gives dolphins a clear advantage when facing off against a shark, but not only that, they are much more aggressive than given credit for.
Dolphins will actively go out of their way to attack sharks, using their strong heads to ram sharks in their underbelly, causing internal damage that can often kill sharks.
Most sharks are innately scared of dolphins, and even when sharks attack wounded dolphins they often hesitate and think twice about it.
Hopefully, this post has been insightful and you’ve learned something new today about why dolphins can and do kill sharks.
Dolphins are smart, fast, and effective predators that when working together can take on just about anything in the ocean.
Thanks for taking the time to read this post and feel free to share it with others who may find it of value.
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!