Skip to content Skip to footer

What Do Dolphins Eat: Dolphins Favorite Food and Diet

Dolphins are strictly carnivores and only eat meat. They, however, have a strong preference for fish as they rarely have access to other meats, with seabirds being occasional treats. See what dolphins eat.

What Do Dolphins Eat in the Ocean?

Dolphins basically only live and eat in water, and they have favorite foods. Their most preferred food are:

  • Salmon.
  • Herring.
  • Mackerel.
  • Cephalopods.
  • Crustaceans.
  • Jellyfish.
  • Krill.
  • Marine mammals.
  • Octopus.
  • Plankton.
  • Squid.

How Do Dolphins Hunt?

When hunting in a group, dolphins use the sheep herding technique, where a group of dolphins tail a group of fish and encircle them. Each dolphin will eat their fill in turn before breaking the chain.

A single dolphin hunting for food will mainly use the tossing technique, which involves chasing prey and tossing it against the ocean floor before eating it.

Also read: What Animals Eat Dolphins? Main Dolphins Predators

How Often Do Dolphins Eat?

Dolphins eat several times a day for their required nutrient needs. A dolphin will only last several days without food due to their high demand for energy to transverse the ocean.

How Much Do Dolphins Eat?

Dolphins eat food worth 4% to 6% of their body weight. Most adult dolphins eat as much as 20 pounds of fish daily. Female dolphins nursing their young eat up to 30 pounds of food daily.

Also read: Are Dolphins Dangerous? Do They Attack Humans?

Group of dolphins

Frequently Asked Questions

What Kind of Fish Do Dolphins Eat?

Dolphins eat salmon during summer and spring, which is considered their favorite food. When salmon is scarce in the winter, dolphins opt for mackerel, herring, catfish, mullet, and other tropical fishes. They eat by biting their prey and swallowing.

Do Dolphins Eat Shrimp?

Dolphins eat shrimps. They enjoy shrimp and eat them in large quantities for complete satisfaction. They also eat other crustaceans if shrimps and other preferred fish are not available.

Do Dolphins Eat Squid?

Dolphins eat squid and enjoy it quite well. Squids are an essential part of a dolphin’s diet, and they eat them a lot. Other marine animals dolphins love to eat include octopuses, and shrimps.

Do Dolphins Chew Their Food?

Dolphins do not chew their food even though they have teeth. They use their teeth to hold the prey and quickly swallow them. Some dolphins, like the bottlenose dolphins, grab the prey with their teeth and hit them against the ocean floor severally until significant body parts come off, which they immediately swallow.

Do Dolphins Eat Birds?

Dolphins occasionally eat seabirds if they are available. Some of the major seabirds dolphins eat are pelicans, gulls, puffins, albatrosses, and razorbills. Seabirds are not always available, which is why dolphins don’t eat them as much as their preferred prey, like octopuses, squid, and fish.

How Do Dolphins Find Their Food?

Dolphins employ smart techniques to find their food. One way they get their food is by using the sheep herding technique, where a group of dolphins tail a group of fish and encircle them. Each dolphin will eat the fish in turn until everyone eats efficiently.

Another technique a dolphin uses to get their food is chasing a fish close to shore to trap it.

How Many Stomachs Do Dolphins Have?

A dolphin has a 3 chambered stomach, just like a deer or cow. The three-chambered stomach allows dolphins to eat a lot of food which can sustain them for a while.

Dolphins’ first stomach is where the prey’s mastication happens since they do not chew but swallow their prey. The second stomach carries out digestion and is where nourishment happens.

The third stomach, known as the pyloric stomach, is where final digestion occurs and is also where undigested remnants from the second stomach are adequately digested.

Do Dolphins Eat Seaweed?

Dolphins do not eat seaweed or algae because they are carnivores. They will never eat food that is not flesh, and since seaweed is an alga that grows under the water, dolphins do not consider them an edible food source.

Do Dolphins Eat Humans?

Dolphins do not eat people. While they are carnivores, they do not eat humans and instead prefer a friendly relationship with us. Even dolphins that are not very social will prefer to keep their distance and stay away from us than try to eat us.

Do Dolphins Drink Salt Water?

Dolphins cannot drink salt water because of its high toxicity. They generate the water they drink from their food. The fluids from prey are only 1/3 as salty as the water dolphin swims in, making them tolerable for the huge sea mammals.

Do Dolphins Eat Sharks?

Dolphins are not interested in eating sharks and will rather go for their much-preferred usual prey, which are mostly shrimps, mackerels, and herrings. Killer whales (the biggest dolphin species) are the only dolphins believed to be able to kill huge sharks and occasionally eat them.

Do Dolphins Eat Crabs?

Dolphins eat crabs even if it is not their primary food choice. Generally, dolphins will eat what they find in their habitat. When crabs are available, dolphins will eat them just as much as they would eat an octopus, squid, shrimp, and jellyfish.

Do Dolphins Eat Sea Turtles?

Most dolphins do not eat sea turtles. Killer whales are the only exception and only do so occasionally. Sea turtles are not part of dolphins’ primary diet because dolphins don’t like them. The intelligent mammals prefer mostly fish, with shrimps, mackerel, salmon, and herring topping their list.

Do Dolphins Eat Plants?

Dolphins don’t eat plants. They are carnivorous mammals that love to eat fish and seabirds. Dolphins cannot eat seaweed or any other plants. They only eat fish and other animals they can find in their habitat.

Do Dolphins Eat JellyFish?

Dolphins love jellyfish, just like most fish they can find in the sea. They actively eat jellyfish and often use the sheep herding technique to encircle a group of jellyfish and have their fill. Dolphins also eat shrimp, salmon, and squid.

Do Dolphins Eat Octopus?

Dolphins eat octopuses. They use crafty techniques to get the slick octopus and even risk their lives in the process, as octopuses can fight back by targeting vulnerable spots. The New York Times explains how dolphins catch and kill octopuses. They use the tossing technique to weaken the octopus before biting and swallowing.

Do Dolphins Eat Meat?

Yes. Dolphins eat meat, with fish being their primary source of nutrients. They sometimes eat seabirds, also. Dolphins do not eat common meat like beef because they are sea mammals constrained to water.

Leave a Comment