Are Sharks Afraid Of Dolphins? Menacing Marine Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Are Sharks Afraid Of Dolphins? Menacing Marine Facts For Kids

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Everyone loves to go dolphin watching, and see them jump gracefully through the water.

These creatures of the ocean may seem cute on the surface, but under the water, they can show a side so blood thirsty that even sharks have come to fear them! These intelligent creatures do know how to keep even apex predators at bay.

When it comes to dolphins vs sharks, it really is a matter of brain vs brawn. Dolphins have evolved to travel in packs and using their strength, they are able to beat even the biggest of great white sharks lurking in the deep. As sharks are mostly solitary hunters and quite slow, they end up being no match in the face of a pod of dolphins. Groups of dolphins are so scary that sharks have been known to stay away from the parts of the ocean where dolphins are known to live, swimming away to safer water! Though sharks kill dolphins for food, dolphins simply hunt and kill sharks in order to keep apex predators like the great white shark from attacking them as prey.

If you enjoyed this article, do check out some more incredible facts on our thresher shark facts and are silverfish dangerous pages.

Are sharks and dolphins related?

No, sharks and dolphins, though they may seem related, are completely different animals. Sharks are fish and belong to the Elasmobranch family, which includes sharks, rays, skates, and sawfish. They are cold-blooded and have gills, which means they spend their whole lives underwater as they can breathe easily in the water. They have scales like fish do and their skeletons are made of cartilage rather than bone, making them cartilaginous fish.

Dolphins on the other hand are mammals, meaning that they are warm-blooded and give birth to live offspring rather than laying eggs. Dolphins belong to the Cetacean family, which also includes whales and porpoises. Dolphins do not have scales like fish do, instead possessing smooth, rubbery skin. They also do not have gills and have to surface every four to five minutes to take in air. The question is, if dolphins are unable to breathe underwater, then why do they live in the sea? The way dolphins are built means they would be unable to survive on land as their bodies would overheat and they would dry out. Though their bodies have evolved over time to let them adapt to marine life, they have not yet gained the ability to breathe underwater.

Can a dolphin kill a shark?

Sharks are solitary swimmers and hunters, whereas dolphins go swimming everywhere in groups known as pods. If a dolphin is ever under the threat of attack by a shark, then they will call their pod members who will swoop in to protect and defend the solitary dolphin.

A dolphin's snout is actually its deadliest weapon and it will use it to ram against a shark, using it as a battering ram. Groups of dolphins will work together and either target the gills of the shark, making it unable to breathe and drowning it, or they will ram it with their strong snouts from below, damaging its soft underbellies and causing major injuries. This foul targeting behavior has led sharks to be wary of dolphin pod-infested waters.

Though it is unlikely that a solitary dolphin may be able to take on a shark by itself, the orca (killer whale) will most certainly be able to do so, and is one of the only animals able to scare the mighty shark! Orcas have strong tail fins, which they use to flip the shark before using their extremely sharp teeth to tear out its liver. They then leave the rest of the body and feast on the liver.

Sharks are also known to frequently target baby dolphins, however, this tends to land them in hot water large pods of adults often come to defend the lone baby dolphin.

Dolphins family swimming in water.

What are sharks afraid of?

Though sharks may attack lone dolphins as prey, they are actually afraid of large pods of them. There exist megapods and superpods of dolphins, which can contain hundreds and thousands of members at a time. These pods have been known to round sharks up and attack them, ramming into their snouts in the shark's gills in order to suffocate them. Due to this, sharks tend to avoid waters where large groups of dolphins are present, and will only go after any solitary dolphins or babies they see.

Great white sharks are also afraid of killer whales, who are known to flip them with their tails and rip out their livers from their soft bellies, disposing of their bodies after eating them. Any white sharks which see any floating bodies of their dead comrades are sure to turn tail and swim back the way they came from, becoming filled with fear.

A great advantage that dolphins have over sharks is their speed. Great white sharks are known to weigh around 5511.6 lb (2500 kg), which can make them quite heavy. Dolphins on the other hand are quite sleek, and their soft, smooth skin makes it very easy for them to glide through the water with ease. They also possess incredible flexibility and mobility, as their fins are vertically oriented. Once a pod of dolphins spots a lone shark, it is very unlikely that it will be able to escape before they catch up with it and attack.

Contrary to popular belief, sharks are also quite afraid of humans! Being apex predators, it is natural that sharks will fear or stay away from the unknown, and that includes humans. There are instances where curious sharks have gone up to humans diving or splashing about in the water, which has led to accidental attacks upon the human noticing them and panicking. There have of course been a number of unprovoked attacks by sharks, however, these are rare and not the norm. It appears that traps, nets, and devices made by humans can scare these creatures away which is why they want nothing to do with us.

Groups have dolphins have been observed to come to the aid of humans in the face of sharks! A great tip for divers is that if you see dolphins swimming about, it is safe to proceed as it is very unlikely that sharks would be spotted in the same area.

Who would win a dolphin or a shark?

Though dolphins seem to have the upper hand in this scenario, the sneaky shark can't be ruled out just yet.

Though dolphins are highly intelligent creatures, there are times when they may swim far away enough from their groups or be caught unaware by a passing shark. Sharks, being silent hunters, may be able to sneak up in the dolphin's blind spot and attack it with its sharp teeth. However, this will have to be done in quick succession, as a failed attempt gives the speedy dolphin time to escape or call out to its comrades in a bid to protect itself.

Along with their high intelligence, dolphins also possess echolocation, in which they send waves of sound through the water in order to detect any obstacles or possible shark attacks. They use this in order to weave their way through the water and avoid sharks and other hidden predators. Echolocation is also used to hunt for food such as fish, crustaceans, and other prey.

Despite the cruel reputation of dolphins, they do not actually hunt sharks down as food. Any attacks on sharks by dolphins are in self-defense or to strike fear in the hearts of any possible threats. Sharks are considered apex predators of the sea and will take any opportunity to hunt and feed on lone or baby dolphins. After battering up any sharks, the attacking dolphin pod will leave the body to float up to the surface, completely intact. The only exception to this is the killer whale, which sees great white sharks as prey and enjoys eating their livers. An example of this was seen in 2017, when three liverless sharks washed up ashore in South Africa, after becoming the targets of orcas.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for are are sharks afraid of dolphins? unveiling sharks vs dolphins attacks! then why not take a look at are gorillas omnivores? the gorilla's diet might surprise you!, or are goats good pets? must-know facts for your backyard companions?

Written By
Tanya Parkhi

<p>Tanya is a skilled content creator with a passion for writing and a love for exploring new cultures. With a degree in Economics from Fergusson College, Pune, India, Tanya worked on her writing skills by contributing to various editorials and publications. She has experience writing blogs, articles, and essays, covering a range of topics. Tanya's writing reflects her interest in travel and exploring local traditions. Her articles showcase her ability to engage readers and keep them interested.</p>

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