What Do Dolphins Eat?

Atlantic Spotted Dolphin Stenella Plagiodon
Juvenile Altantic spotted dolphin (Stenella frontalis). Photo by Sheilapic76. License: CC BY 2.0.

Dolphins are very intelligent creatures and seem to be well loved by humans. The amazing aquatic mammal has many qualities that have been fascinating mankind for centuries. Dolphins are curious creatures known to make strong bonds within their pod and apart from that, they are also known to help humans in variety of ways like fishing and rescuing.

In total, there are 36 different species of dolphins and the one main reason why they fetch our attention is the leap that they make out of water. Some of them can leap up to 30 feet in the air. Yes, that’s true! Their body is grayish blue and their skin is very sensitive to human touch and other things that are present in water.

Dolphins have 100 teeth but they do not use them for eating. They utilize them to get fish but later swallow them. They usually work in a group to get food and take turns so that every member can get a chance to dine. Sounds amazing, right?

Well, these were some basic facts about dolphins and now it is time to know what all they eat, curious? Read on…

What Do Dolphins Eat?

Dolphins are carnivores, which mean they also eat crustaceans, squid, marine animals, fish and smaller animals. Their eating habits also depend on other factors like their species, the habitat and the type of food present in the area. Most dolphins also consume fish like herring, cod and mackerel.

If we talk about bigger dolphins like killer whales then they can also hunt other large animals, marine animals and birds. What kind of marine animals? Well they can be sea lions, seals, penguins, walruses, seabirds, sharks, etc. And if you are wondering what do dolphins eat and how do they survive here are few essential facts to know.

How Do they Benefit from one Another with Abundant Source of Food?

  • The Bait Balling Technique – Dolphins work in groups to get food and bait balling is the most common technique they follow. They utilize this method to capture a school of fish. Dolphins make a circle around the small fish and this makes them gather in a herd. When dolphins cover all the paths of the fish, they begin eating. This technique makes it easy for dolphins to get food. They also take turns so that every member can get a chance to eat. They are also known to share food with their counterparts.
  • Corralling – This is another method that is mostly followed by dolphins in shallow water. In this technique, dolphins get their prey by getting them to a small or narrow place. Once they get their prey there, they pin them against mud or wall so they cannot escape.
  • Echolocation – This is a method that they follow to communicate with each other during the hunting process. It helps them create sound waves that further make it easier for them to locate their food. This happens when the sound waves bounce off the objects and then come back to the whales as the emission of the echo. With the help of echolocation, dolphins locate their prey and hunt them for eating.

Dolphins are the most interesting form of aquatic life out there and you already know that they are very intelligent. So, knowing about a creature that is of great help to mankind is surely an amazing thing.

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Paul Tomaszewski is a science & tech writer as well as a programmer and entrepreneur. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of CosmoBC. He has a degree in computer science from John Abbott College, a bachelor's degree in technology from the Memorial University of Newfoundland, and completed some business and economics classes at Concordia University in Montreal. While in college he was the vice-president of the Astronomy Club. In his spare time he is an amateur astronomer and enjoys reading or watching science-fiction. You can follow him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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