A dolphin and a shark
Dolphin and Sharks

Why Are Sharks Afraid Of Dolphins?

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  • Post category:Dolphins
  • Post last modified:28 January 2022
  • Reading time:10 mins read

Sharks are not entirely afraid of dolphins more the case is sharks don’t like to confront dolphins because dolphins when together in a pod can kill them if they choose to.

Even though the dolphins generally do not attack sharks unless provoked, they can kill them if and when it is necessary. 

Most of the time, dolphins attack sharks in groups. 

Dolphins communicate well, and the dolphins choreograph the attack perfectly to defeat the shark and kill it together.

Shark Deaths By Dolphins

The dolphins mostly attack in groups of dolphins called pods whenever hunting for their prey. While several members of the group help to round up the fish, the other members feed on them.

The dolphins use the same tactic while attacking a shark in most cases. Like the fish, the dolphins also round up the shark to contain it while attacking it. Since dolphins swim faster than sharks, they have no problem holding a shark in place.

Some group members swim around the trapped shark, and others continue the full-fledged attack on it. 

They use their tail and snout to ram on the soft underbelly portion of the sharks to knock them down or stun them effectively.

The dolphins also target the gills of the shark to drown them. Some dolphins can also attack the shark fins to decapitate it.

Sharks, in most cases, know the danger the dolphins pose together in their pods and try to avoid the waters where dolphins are present.

Great White Shark, Tiger Shark and The Bull Shark

These giant sharks are the exception among the shark species that will often attack and kill a dolphin if they get the right opportunity.

The great whites, tiger sharks and bull sharks will aim to attack baby dolphins or individual dolphins that have become old or weak and are away from the pod.

If a fight happens between any of these sharks and a single dolphin, great whites, tiger sharks, and bull sharks will win. 

But, as dolphins travel in groups and the sharks mostly hunt alone, the chances are low.

Which sharks can kill a dolphin?

  • Great White Shark
  • Tiger Shark
  • Bull Shark

Can a dolphin kill a shark?

Most dolphin species cannot take down an individual large shark species by themselves. However, if they are in a pod of dolphins, they can work together to kill the shark.

Recommended Read: Do Dolphins Kill And Eat Sharks?

Orcas (The Killer Whale)

A killer whale jumping out of the ocean, showing body apart from tail
Orca (Killer Whale)

Orcas are from the dolphin family, and this is the largest dolphin species of them all. Orcas can quite quickly kill a shark on their own without assistance.

The orcas are mostly considered the sea wolves and often hunt down the great whites.

In most cases, the dolphins and the sharks try to avoid each other. Any other dolphin species will only attack sharks when they are in groups.

There are hundreds of shark species available in the ocean. While some are significantly large, some shark species are considerably tiny. 

Some of the sharks that belong to the smaller-sized species are common prey of dolphins. 

Orcas are the giant dolphins that you can find in the ocean. They are even more significant than the great white shark. 

So, when it comes to fighting one on one, the orcas can win the battle anytime. 

The Benefits of Travelling In A Pod

Dolphin Pod view from underwater
Dolphin Pod

Undoubtedly, dolphins are very smart and stout-bodied marine mammals who can swim quickly. But still, an individual dolphin, except for the Orcas, is no match to the bigger giants, like the sharks. That is one of the reasons why these marine mammals choose not to travel alone. 

The dolphin pods are considered tight-knit family groups. In each pod, the dolphins form complex relationships with each other. 

The dolphins even have a solid communication system that they use to talk to each other and with the members of other dolphin groups.

Safety and Backup

The dolphins benefit from numbers when fighting off a shark attack or just hunting down prey. Together with the pod members, they spot the threat efficiently and effectively start the battle plan.

The other benefit of being in a dolphin pod is that if a dolphin gets attacked, the other group members immediately come to the rescue.

Recommended Read: Do dolphins have more than one mating partner?

There is no doubt that a single dolphin can be highly vulnerable, but a single shark surrounded by a group of dolphins is generally doomed. 

The dolphins will keep on attacking the shark relentlessly. As they attack in a group, they keep on attacking the shark from every angle. 

In most cases, the sharks sense the danger and strength of the pod and quickly try to get away from the situation.

What does a shark do when they spot a dolphin pod?

As long as the dolphins stay with their group members, they are safe. Sharks know that, and they try to be very cautious around a group of dolphins. The sharks try to leave the place whenever they spot dolphin pods in the same area. 

Teeth Marks On Dolphins

When it comes to dolphins and sharks, people are not thinking about a pod of dolphins attacking a single shark. People imagine a cute smiling dolphin trying to fight off a fierce nasty shark in most cases. 

However, this is not entirely right. Those marks are more than credible evidence of a single shark trying to defend itself against the attacks of angry dolphin pods. 

Dolphins are so intelligent that they often plan, target, and kill larger animals living in the same area to eliminate the competition.

Proof

The weary and skittish behaviour that sharks show around the dolphins also proves that the sharks do not always get to have the upper hand in those interactions.

The image of dolphins in our minds is totally different from their sheer ruling and dominance in the wild under the water. These creatures are far more aggressive.

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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.