Dolphins are some of the most remarkable predators in the ocean and are often considered to be the most intelligent.
They are found in many of the world’s oceans and have a set of between 80 – 100 sharp teeth used for chomping prey.
In this post, we’re going to take a closer look at the dolphin’s behavior, and do dolphins bite humans?
Yes, dolphins can (and do) bite humans. It’s important to be cautious around dolphins in the wild as if they feel threatened they may attack.
Do Dolphins Attack Humans?
Despite dolphins looking incredibly cute and harmless, they are actually more than capable of attacking and causing serious harm to humans.
Some dolphins that are in captivity and part of “swim-with” interactions have been known to seriously hurt humans by butting them and even dragging people underwater.
Wild animals can be unpredictable, especially when they are in captivity and not in their natural habitats.
Are Dolphins Friendly Towards Humans?
Dolphins have a reputation for being friendly, as many people on vacation have amazing experiences with them that last a lifetime.
However, it’s important to remember that they are wild animals as well as predators, and therefore need to be treated with caution and respect.
Humans and dolphins both share a mutual curiosity, with some even going as far as calling it a friendship.
That said, the reality can be quite different. Dolphins in the wild have an average life expectancy of around 20 – 30 years in their natural environment, but this is halved whilst in captivity as often suffer a great deal.
Dolphins in captivity may look happy, but that is just the anatomy of their jaws. This creates the illusion of a constantly happy and friendly animal, which is sadly not true.
They are simply unable to stop smiling, whether they are happy or sad. We are often told that when dolphins squint they are happy, but this is also false.
Different chemicals in the pools that they are captive in can make dolphins squint, such as chlorine.
They are wild animals that have emotions and feelings just like humans, which is why they can be dangerous and threatening to humans.
Dolphins when kept in small pools can become stressed, with the environment affecting their behavior and making them incredibly unpredictable.
This is often why many attacks are reported in enclosures, as dolphins are unhappy, stressed, and express their emotions.
The reality is that dolphins are not the friendly animals that they are made out to be, especially when in enclosures and in captivity.
Whereas dolphins in the wild live a much happier and healthier life and are often more friendly and less aggressive towards humans.
Will A Dolphin Bite Me?
It’s hard to say whether or not a dolphin will bite as it depends on the circumstances as well as the individual dolphin and multiple other variables.
It is important to be cautious and never overstep the line with dolphins, they need to be treated with respect and admired from afar.
Dolphins have a set of sharp teeth that can inflict a lot of damage if they bite. Depending on if you’re having an experience with a wild dolphin or a dolphin in captivity will play a role in the risk of being bitten.
Always follow guidance from professionals that are leading the experience, they are often interacting with the dolphins on a daily basis and can advise on which dolphins are most dangerous and which are friendly.
Why Do Dolphins Bite People?
There are a number of reasons why a dolphin may bite a person, but it is often related to if the dolphin is angry, stressed, afraid, or feels threatened.
A dolphin’s first form of defense is usually using its snout to “butt” people instead of biting. They use this form of defense in the wild to warn off Sharks and Orca.
There are numerous reports of people being butted by dolphins, which can leave people with broken ribs as well as PTSD.
Dolphins are able to swim at around 37mph when at full speed, so being butted by a dolphin at full speed can feel like being hit by a car.
This is what makes these animals so dangerous, combined with the fact they have sharp teeth, and dolphins in captivity are almost constantly stressed.
Keep in mind that dolphins are predators, and are effective ones at that. Wild predators that are stressed and in captivity can be a time bomb waiting to go off.
Is It Dangerous To Swim With Dolphins?
It is undoubtedly dangerous to swim with dolphins, even those that have been “trained” and are supposedly well-behaved.
Dolphins are wild animals that feel emotions, and these emotions are well hidden behind the dolphin’s anatomy giving the appearance that they are constantly happy.
Whilst in captivity they are surrounded by loud music, sometimes being drugged to stay calm, and often kept in a hungry state to perform, which would make any animals a danger to be around.
Swimmers have been known to have been scratched, bitten, bruised, and dragged underwater by dolphins.
Swimming with dolphins is dangerous, and I would discourage MarinePatch readers from doing so as it may put you and your family at risk, and contributes to the commercial aspect of swimming with dolphins.
So, do dolphins bite humans? Absolutely. They are wild animals after all and are predators that need to be treated with respect.
Despite the happy narrative that organizations portray to keep paying customers coming back, dolphins in captivity are often not happy and suffering.
Their anatomy and jaws are unable to change, so it gives the illusion that they are happy even though they are suffering.
Hopefully, this post has been helpful and you now have a better understanding of why dolphins can be so dangerous, in captivity or in the wild.
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!