a dolphin underwater with a big jellyfish
Do dolphins eat jellyfish?

Do Dolphins Eat Jellyfish? Nom Nom!

Dolphins are some of the most intelligent animals on Earth. They have complex social structures and communicate through whistles, clicks, and body language. Dolphins are also incredibly playful and enjoy interacting with humans. The dolphin diet is much different from ours. They love their food, but do dolphins eat jellyfish?

Dolphins are opportunistic feeders and love to eat jellyfish. Dolphins eat fish, shrimp, octopus, and squid apart from jellyfish. While all dolphins eat fish, those in deep oceans also devour much more squid and jellyfish than those who don’t.

List Of Dolphin Food

A dolphin next to different food varieties that they eat
What foods does a dolphin eat?

If available to a dolphin within their habitat, they eat the following.

  • Anchovies
  • Carp
  • Catfish
  • Cod
  • Crabs
  • Gobies
  • Herring
  • Krill
  • Jellyfish
  • Mackeral
  • Mullet
  • Octopuses
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Sawfish
  • Shrimp
  • Smelt
  • Squid
  • Tuna

Dolphins That Eat Jellyfish

A dolphin’s diet depends significantly on its living habitat and the species. For most dolphin species, the vast majority of their prey are fish. However, some larger dolphins feed on marine mammals like sharks or seals.

Deep Water Dolphins: The Atlantic bottlenose dolphin and Risso’s dolphins fall under the category of deepwater dolphins. The climate of these waters gives the dolphins easy access to jellyfish. Hence, keeping jellyfish a big part of their diet is very easy.

Spinner Dolphins: This dolphin species prefers warm waters of subtropical and tropical climates. Hence, they are usually found in the Indian, Atlantic, and Pacific Oceans. Even though the spinner dolphin species enjoy a wide variety of fish, they also eat jellyfish.

Recommended Read: Do Dolphins Chew Their Food?

Do dolphins eat jellyfish after playing with them?

Jellyfish can be hard to digest for any predators, even dolphins. Moreover, they are hard to catch as they have slimy bodies. On top of that, jellyfish use a defence mechanism to remain protected from predators.

The dolphins play frisbee with jellyfish, which sometimes results in jellyfish death. Dolphins slap the jellyfish with their tails or even toss them to other dolphins. Sometimes they spin the gelatinous blob of the jellyfish. Thus, allowing dolphins to eat them after easily.

Do dolphins eat jellyfish of all kinds?

Some dolphins eat only certain types of jellyfish. Other dolphins will eat any jellyfish.

Moon jellyfish is one of the species that some dolphins don’t eat.

Moon Jellyfish

The moon jellyfish is named because of its unique shape. Their amazing quarter-shaped body makes it easy to identify them as predators. However, dolphins won’t eat this species of jellyfish as it has a mean sting. Instead, they would push on the top side of this jellyfish and play with it whilst avoiding the sting.

Are Dolphins Friendly?

The answer to this question varies from situation to situation. Usually, dolphins are friendly towards human beings. In some cases, they have shown great compassion towards humans. But this is not always the case. Instances of dolphins attacking humans are sometimes heard. It would help if you remember that dolphins are wild animals and can’t be domesticated. In regards to jellyfish, dolphins can’t be called friendly at all. After all, their playful nature with the jellyfish leads to their death.

Why do dolphins catapult jellyfish into the air?

Dolphins launch jellyfish into the air for two reasons. They think of jellyfish as a ball they can play with, and they also want to get the fish that hides inside the rim of the jellyfish.

Do dolphins eat jellyfish to get high?

This is not true. Some species of jellyfish can harm dolphins. No evidence shows that dolphins get ‘high’ after consuming jellyfish.

Some jellyfish can cause allergic reactions in dolphins. If a dolphin gets stung by a jellyfish, it can be hazardous and even deadly. However, there is no evidence that dolphins have died from eating jellyfish. There is also no scientific proof that dolphins are purposely eating high-toxin jellyfish.

There is evidence that dolphins eat pufferfish to get high; I recently watched a BBC documentary about how dolphins get high on these fish.

Recommended Read: Do dolphins eat their babies?

How do dolphins hunt?

Dolphins use echolocation to find their prey. This means they make clicking noises and listen to the echoes to figure out where things are. Once they know where their prey is, they will chase it and surround it to eat it. They usually attack as a group and slam the prey against the water surface until it dies. Once it dies, they will consume it along with other dolphins.

Do baby dolphins eat jellyfish?

Yes, baby dolphins will eat jellyfish if available to them. They mainly consume their mother’s milk until around 2 to 3 years old, but from 5 months onwards, they will start to eat jellyfish.

If you want to know more about what baby dolphins eat, see the article I wrote on baby dolphins’ diet.

Dolphins Love To Eat

The feeding behaviour of a dolphin dramatically depends on its living environment. For example, the Atlantic bottlenose dolphins live on the coast of Florida. They can swim to a greater depth easily, eating fish like catfish and mullet. On the other hand, dusky dolphins living in the southern hemisphere’s deep waters eat fish, shrimp, anchovies and squid. Some species of Orcas feed on salmon, whereas some other species of Orcas love to eat sea lions and whales.

If you want to know more about what dolphins eat, find the article I wrote that has this information.

Do Dolphins Eat Lobsters?

Dolphin and a lobster
Do dolphins eat lobsters?

Different species of dolphins have other taste preferences. We all know that dolphins are carnivores. At the same time, some dolphins love to feed on lobsters, crabs, and shrimps, whereas some species prefer to eat octopus and cuttlefish.

How Much Do Dolphins Eat?

The amount of food a dolphin can eat depends on the fish species it consumes. For example, mackerel and herring have a high-fat substance and high caloric worth, while squid has a low caloric worth. So, dolphins should eat more squid than mackerel to consume similar calories.

Are dolphins dangerous animals?

It is known that dolphins are not domesticated animals. They can become very dangerous at times. They are powerful marine animals that can injure anyone, including humans and prey. They can flap their tail hard enough to hurt their prey. Therefore, dolphins can be classified as one of the most dangerous animals.

Recommended Read: Can a dolphin bite?

Round-Up – Do dolphins eat jellyfish?

Dolphins eat jellyfish, but some are luckier than others to have more available. Dolphins eat many other foods, such as tuna, mackerel, mullet, and shrimp. Dolphins pretty much eat most of the tiny creatures in the sea. However, there is one jellyfish, the moon jellyfish, that they avoid,

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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.