Dolphins are powerful, intelligent animals that do not have many predators in the ocean. Most predators carry out sneak attacks on their young calves and sick adults because fighting a healthy dolphin is risky. Here is all you need to know about dolphin predators.
The Main Dolphins Predators
Dolphins have only one natural predator, the killer whale, which is a dolphin. Other predators only attack its calves and sick adults. A fully healthy dolphin is difficult to kill, which is why bull sharks, their most dangerous predator, find it difficult to kill them. Here are the major dolphins’ predators.
- Bull Sharks.
- Dusky Sharks.
- Great White Sharks.
- Tiger Sharks
- Orcas a.k.a. Killer Whales
Where Are Dolphins in the Food Chain?
Most dolphins are close to being apex predators and only have one natural predator, the tigershark. However, at the very top of the food chain is still a dolphin species, the killer whale. No marine mammal or animal actively hunts a killer whale or orca as food.
The dolphin food chain follows the order:
- Plankton feed on dead animals.
- Krill feeds on plankton.
- Squid and small fish feed on krill.
- Large fish and large squids eat smaller fish and squids.
- Dolphins eat large and small fishes, squids, octopuses, and crustaceans. (Read more about what dolphins eat here)
- Killer whales and sharks eat large fish, squids, and dolphins
- Killer whales (the biggest dolphin) kill and eat sharks.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do People Eat Dolphins?
Humans eat dolphins as food. We are major predators of dolphins, with several countries eating it as a special delicacy. Over 10,000 dolphins are killed annually, with the majority eaten as food. Only a small percentage is used as bait.
Dolphin meat is very popular in China, referred to as sea pork or Chancho Marino. Other countries that eat dolphins include Japan, India, Malaysia, South Korea and Nigeria.
Do Whales Eat Dolphins?
Pure whales do not eat dolphins as they prefer smaller fishes. It is actually dolphins that eat themselves. Killer whales, the biggest dolphin species often kill and eat other dolphin species if the food they desire is unavailable.
Do Sharks Eat Dolphins?
Sharks eat small dolphins. They may also kill and eat sick dolphins because of their vulnerability. It is uncommon for a shark to fight a fully grown dolphin with the intent to kill and eat. Dolphins are way smarter, and the shark could get killed.
Do Orcas Eat Dolphins?
Orcas are apex predators that eat other dolphins. Orcas are the most intelligent dolphins, which makes them difficult to subdue as they often move in groups when hunting.
Killer whales will kill dolphins if they are hungry or just want to kill for fun. Killer whales are actually dolphins, known as orcas. They are the biggest species of dolphins and are natural hunters and brutal killers.
Do Tiger Sharks Eat Dolphins?
Tiger Sharks only eat young and sick dolphins. They Prefer not to hunt dolphins for food because of the risk of ending up killed. Orcas can kill Tiger Sharks, while bottlenose dolphins and other smaller species can inflict serious injury. These reasons are why Tigersharks prefer not to fight a healthy dolphin.
Are Whales and Dolphins The same?
Whales and dolphins are marine mammals but distinct animals. Whales share the same order as dolphins, but both are different. Some dolphins are sometimes called whales because of their huge size. Popular dolphins, often called whales, are Pilot whales, killer whales and false Killer whales. However, the dolphins’ relationship with whales is in their name only.