A dolphin showing its teeth
Do dolphins bite?

Can A Dolphin Bite A Human? Would We Expect Anything Else From A Wild Animal?

Yes, dolphins can and will bite a human if needed. All wild animals, including dolphins, can become aggressive when frustrated or afraid. Although biting people in dolphins is rare, it is not an exception for them. Even though dolphins have a cute image, they are still very much wild animals.

Other Attacking Tactics

Even though biting incidents are significantly rare, dragging swimmers down underwater, headbutting, or lashing out with their tails are common attacking tactics that dolphins use. 

  • Headbutting
  • Tail Lashing

While most of the attacks are conducted by individual male dolphins, there is some evidence that a pod of dolphins has attacked a group of swimmers.

While dolphins have a timid reputation, you still must be very careful when encountering a dolphin. 

All dolphins have different personalities, and some will be more aggressive than others.

In the following part of this article, we have pointed out why dolphins can be more dangerous than you consider them.

Dolphin Teeth

Dolphins have a row of razor-sharp teeth on their jaws. Even though these marine animals cannot use their teeth to chew their food, they are often ripped apart by their prey. 

The common bottlenose dolphins have about 80 to 100 teeth for hunting down their prey, gripping them, and securing them.

Recommended read: How long do dolphins live? 

Aggressive Attackers

Most people think dolphins have purposeful grins on their faces and are adorable creatures. They are, however, from a distance only.

Dolphins are wild marine animals and are aggressive towards aquatic animals, including other dolphins. Potential aggression tendencies are no different for humans. 

Dolphins are amazing creatures but should not be taken for granted for our benefit. They deserve respect as the clever creatures they are. Dolphins will bite if they feel threatened or over-smothered by humans, which is a natural behaviour. 

Most often, the dolphins primarily use their snout, just like a club. Dolphin attacks can be significantly powerful and painful. As the dolphins can dramatically swim fast, making their attacks are strong.

Full-fledged dolphin attacks can result in severe injury and sometimes death. Dolphin attacks can result in spinal bone fractures, broken ribs, or damaged lungs.

Clever Hunters

The dolphins can be ruthless, clever killers when hunting down their prey. These marine animals can become cold and calculating predators if they are hungry.

Dolphins can develop unusual attacking tactics for trapping and hunting down their prey thanks to their astonishing intelligence. 

For example, dolphins living in the shallow waters of Florida mostly use their tails to hunt down their prey. They move their tail in a circular formation to trap the fish inside a water-type vortex.

Dolphins living in other areas do not use this hunting technique. For example, the dolphins living in shark Bay Australia’s oceans use sea sponges to dig up prey from the ocean floor.

While hunting down the prey, the dolphins of the same group communicate with each other to plan their attack. 

Dolphins learn different attack methods from each other, and they also learn techniques from other animals.

Pod Hunting

Dolphins often hunt in their pods which are usually around fifteen dolphins. However, they can contain several hundred dolphins. 

When hunting in a group, the method used is herding. The dolphins will trap the fish and slowly group them all. Dolphins take turns feeding on the grouped fish while the others continue to contain them.

Torturing Their Prey

Unlike other animals, dolphins do not hunt other marine creatures to satisfy their hunger. They also hunt to take the pleasure of killing. In most cases, dolphins like to play with their prey before killing it. 

For example, Octopuses have developed some of the deadliest defence mechanisms against marine predators. 

Dolphins hunting octopuses, you will see how careful these animals are while making a meal out of these creatures. In most cases, the dolphins ruthlessly beat up the octopus by continuously and viciously tossing them around to ensure their prey cannot attack them back. This continuous tossing also helps the dolphins break down the octopuses into smaller pieces.

Dolphins Kill For Fun

Unlike most animals in the animal kingdom, dolphins kill other animals to enjoy the thrill of killing and playing with them. Dolphins often kill porpoises for fun and are entirely unrelated to their food needs.

Dolphin Kills Their Babies

While it may be hard to believe, dolphins can kill dolphin calves. Some reasons are to mate with the female, for competition or for territorial reasons. 

Recommended Read: Do dolphins eat their babies?

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Teresa Milne

Teresa is learning zoology and loves to share her knowledge through her articles. She is also a avid binge watcher of wild animal documentary's. Teresa has some pets that she adores two dogs, two cats, and one hamster. She has also studied canine behaviour and canine nutrition.