A dolphin cow with her calf swimming
Do dolphins eat other dolphins

Do Dolphins Eat Their Babies?

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  • Post category:Dolphins
  • Post last modified:11 January 2022
  • Reading time:4 mins read

On rare occasions, dolphins can kill their babies, but there is no evidence of eating them. The act of mother dolphins killing baby dolphins is known as infanticide. Even though infanticide can be found in many other land mammals, this behaviour in dolphins is sporadic.

We now know that dolphins do not eat their babies. However, dolphins can kill their babies in rare incidents.

Why would an adult dolphin kill a calf?

Dolphins rarely kill a baby dolphin, but when they do, it could be because of lack of food, competition, mating purposes, territorial dispute, or a defence mechanism enforced by the group members.

Mating Purposes

The adult dolphins can kill a calf to free the female dolphin for mating purposes.

Female dolphins do not mate until their current baby has been weaned completely. It can take about three to four years for a baby dolphin to become completely independent of its mother’s milk. That means that a particular female dolphin will be unavailable for mating during this period.

By killing the dolphin calf, the female dolphin will be free to mate.

Competition

A male dolphin will kill a dolphin calf to remove the progeny of a potential competent male member from the gene pool. Killing the male infant dolphin is a way for other dolphins to remove the competition.

Recommended Read: Do dolphins kill and eat sharks?

Dolphins and Humans

Even though the dolphins have a massive reputation for being cute, friendly, and curious animals, they can be highly vicious from time to time. Dolphins do not generally attack humans since humans are not prey. However, they can significantly injure a person at any time.

Dolphins are aggressive mammals that do not enjoy the company of humans as much as we think that they do. Even though most of the aggressiveness of the dolphins tends to target the porpoises, the number of attacks on humans is not that uncommon. Especially during the period of breeding, dolphins become more aggressive.

We need to remember that dolphins are wild animals, and it is still not possible for us to domesticate them. Dolphins would rather keep away from humans. However, this kind of injury occurs when people try to play with the dolphins while swimming in the sea most of the time. 

The number of attacks caused by the captivated dolphin is on the rise. As more and more people are participating in the swimming with dolphins activity with the captive dolphins, these incidents can rise significantly over time. It is assumed that these captive animals live in stressful captivity where they are being forced to interact with humans and perform various activities daily, like kissing people.

Dangerous

Even though most people think that dolphins are smiling, cute animals, the truth is they are wild mammals. The industry created this attractive image of dolphins feeding, playing, and swimming with humans. 

Dolphins are aggressive predators. Even though the industry refuses to promote its predatory nature, dolphins can be dangerous. These complex marine hunters can inflict significant injury to each other and the humans. Most of the time, dolphins avoid attacking humans, but there is evidence that dolphin attacks have severely injured people. So, it is always better to prevent active interactions with dolphins both in the wild and in marine parks.

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Teresa Milne

Teresa is learning zoology and loves to share her knowledge through her articles. She has some pets that she adores two dogs, two cats, and one hamster. Teresa has also studied canine behaviour and canine nutrition.