Do Sharks Eat Dolphins? Fascinating Facts You Didn't Know

Deepthi Reddy
Oct 11, 2022 By Deepthi Reddy
Originally Published on Nov 24, 2021
Edited by Sarah Blake
Fact-checked by Amatullah Gulbargawala
Do sharks eat dolphins? Read on for some amazing facts.

Sharks and dolphins have a similar physical appearance which makes it difficult to discern them from the water's surface.

Though sharks and dolphins are sea creatures that share the same color and size, on closer observation, you can find several distinct features and attributes. The basic difference is that sharks and dolphins are animals of divergent species.

Sharks belong to the fish species. They not only have gills but can breathe underwater and are also cold-blooded. The shark's body has the unique feature of having a soft underbelly.

In comparison, dolphins are warm-blooded mammals and breathe air. Dolphins, since they are mammals, like human beings, give birth to the baby dolphin.

Dolphins are capable of using only one side of their brain while sleeping. This helps them to be alert when a shark preys on them. It is interesting to find that sharks, though they do not belong to the mammal category, give birth to their young ones.

Dolphin exhibits fantastic social skills. They travel at an incredible speed in groups and make use of sounds to converse and traverse. But most shark species choose to live alone and do not make use of sounds to converse and navigate.

Sharks make use of gills to breathe, whereas dolphins depend upon their blowholes to breathe air. The gills of the shark are seen near the head, and a dolphin's blowhole is located on top of the head. Dolphins and sharks feed on the same food source.

Both sharks and dolphins are gray in color and have almost the same life spans; approximately 20-30 years. Certain varieties of dolphins live for more than 40 years.

Though both dorsal fins are located at the rear, it is not difficult to distinguish them from their fins above the surface of the water. Sharks and dolphins have pectoral fins placed on their sides, but the sharks have more of them. They can be distinguished from the way they swim.

Dolphins move their tails up and down while in motion. If the movement is back and forth, it is probably a shark.

Did you like the fun facts gathered above? You can learn more about sharks by reading the Kidadl article about how sharks mate and how sharks sleep.

Do tiger sharks eat dolphins?

Sharks are a nightmare for almost every sea creature. Sharks attack and eat dolphins. Sharks are considered to be natural enemies of the dolphin species. They are the main predator to dolphins in Sarasota, Florida, and also in the coastal waters of Australia.

They belong to the apex predators category. Sharks are so clever that they could easily identify weak dolphins in a group, including young ones and sick grown-up dolphins. Many sharks attack together but they are also known as solitary predators.

Tiger sharks are dangerous animals. Their name comes from the vertical stripes seen on their young ones. The stripes gradually disappear as they grow up.

Their scientific name is Galeocerdo Cuvier. This omnivore species is commonly seen in tropical and subtropical waters worldwide. The average life span of a tiger shark is 12 years.

The average life span of large sharks is 50 years. Interestingly, the female tiger shark grows larger than the male. This species can be found worldwide.

They have excellent eyesight and have a keen sense of smell. They are not the same as the sand tiger shark, who are comparatively smaller in size. Tiger sharks come up to the surface of the water to inhale fresh air.

The large tiger shark attacks and preys on fish such as sea snakes and also on seabirds, squid, clams, sea turtles, crabs, crocodiles, dolphins, dugongs, seals, and jellyfish. They can even kill sick whales. When they find their prey, they prance on it just like a tiger and consume it quickly.

They have a unique, large, saw-like teeth design. The saw-like teeth cut through the flesh of dolphins. Other non-food items like metals, plastics, and sacks have also been found in their bellies.

Certain aggressive dolphins kill sharks, and sharks do think before attacking them. Dolphins sense the possible attack on young and sick adult dolphins among them.

Dolphins share the information, and they group together and attack the shark species. Dolphins aim at the shark's sensitive underbelly and, consequently, sharks are afraid of dolphins. Dolphins are a friendly and intelligent species, and they attack sharks to protect a wounded or injured family member or even to protect human beings.

Not every shark attack on dolphins is intended to kill them. Shark attacks on dolphins can be considered as a defense mechanism when the dolphin family enters their domain.

Do sharks and dolphins feed together?

People have a misconception that in marine life sharks and dolphins are natural enemies. They kill each other for flesh or for various other reasons. Dolphins and sharks are not arch enemies. Marine life or the ocean is home to both species.

Since sharks are more aggressive than dolphins, they make use of the sound waves to defend themselves. Living in groups allows dolphins to kill sharks before sharks attack them. Dolphins are fast swimmers which also helps them to escape from their predators.

It has been believed that sharks are not likely to be in the nearby areas where dolphins are found but that is a myth. Sharks and dolphins consume a similar type of food. Therefore, they do exist in the same space, at the same time, to catch their prey. Dolphins are always considered to be human-friendly.

Bull sharks are a type of shark which is aggressive, tall, stout, and unpredictable. They can survive in both fresh and saltwater. They are commonly found along the coasts and rivers.

They feed on bony fish and small sharks. The bottlenose dolphin, like most other dolphins, is a carnivore.

They are known to have long memory power and can remember the whistles of other sharks even after long years of separation. A dolphin's snout determines how it eats its prey. Dolphins with long snouts skewer the fish by snapping them before swallowing, whilst those with shorter snouts tend to catch the prey in another manner.

Why do sharks not eat dolphins?

Even if sharks are an energetic and dominant species, they hesitate to prey on dolphins.

Most of the earth's surface is covered with water. Hence the number of sea creatures and their predators is vast. It is interesting to find out more facts on the eating habits of the world's most gigantic sea animals.

Even though there is a notion that sharks are mightier than dolphins, sharks are scared to eat dolphins due to various reasons. Sharks travel alone. Dolphins travel in groups called pods. Dolphin pods attack predator sharks whenever they sense danger.

Sharks like to eat all creatures smaller than them. For that reason, they are fond of eating baby dolphins. But sharks are afraid to do so, fearing the attack from angry dolphins from the pod. Dolphins move at lightning speed, which makes the sharks scared of chasing them.

Dolphins have more emotional intelligence than sharks because they have large brains. Dolphins view humans as part of their pod and show love and compassion to them. However, dolphins are a wild species, and only domesticated dolphins can be friendly to humans.

Do white sharks eat dolphins?

Do you know the smallest and the largest species in the shark category? The smallest are known as dwarf lantern sharks, and the largest are whale sharks.

Each shark has a unique spot pattern similar to fingerprints. Sharks go into a stage called tonic immobility when they are flipped upside down. They possess the thickest skin of any animal species.

Have you heard of a great white shark? They are also called white sharks. The great white shark lives in all temperate and coastal waters, having more concentration in South Africa, Australia, and California.

They have a torpedo-shaped body with powerful shark tails. Shark experts believe that they live up to 70 years or more. Orcas are the largest members of the dolphin family.

They are stealthy hunters and kill great white sharks, who need a great diet for their survival. Orcas, killer whales, and great white sharks belong to the apex predators or major predators category. This means they come at the top of the food chain as they have no other natural predators.

Sharks choose to prey on dolphins. The tongue of the shark is called basihyal. The white shark is a great predator. No other natural animal preys on them other than the killer whale.

They are carnivores and plunder fish, dolphins, whales, seals, and sea birds. They attack dolphins from all directions; front, rear, above, and below. Their food source also includes all indigestible particles and carcasses of whales.

Shark warning signs are displayed in almost every dangerous area. Yet people still try to ignore the warnings. Sharks and many other marine life are on the verge of extinction by getting knotted in nets and by consuming plastics.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our facts in this article, then why not learn about how many teeth sharks have or find out what a group of sharks is called.

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Written by Deepthi Reddy

Master of Business Administration

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Deepthi ReddyMaster of Business Administration

With an MBA under her belt, Deepthi has discovered her true calling in content writing. Her writing repertoire is diverse, covering travel, movies, pet care, parenting, animals and birds, and more. Her joy of learning and creating has helped her craft well-written and engaging articles. When she isn't writing, Deepthi enjoys exploring new cultures, trying different foods, and spending quality time with her two children aged 7 and 12.

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Fact-checked by Amatullah Gulbargawala

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English, Bachelor of Education specializing in the Language Arts

Amatullah Gulbargawala picture

Amatullah GulbargawalaBachelor of Arts specializing in English, Bachelor of Education specializing in the Language Arts

Amatullah is a passionate student pursuing a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education from Ashoka College of Education. With a keen interest in literature, she has excelled in elocution competitions and is an accomplished writer. She has completed courses like "History of English Language and Literature", "Introduction to Western Political Thought and Theory", and "Development of Soft Skills and Personality". In her free time, Amatullah enjoys reading books and writing poetry.

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