Dolphins are easily one of the most recognizable marine creatures on the planet. They have long been an important figure not only in the ocean but in various sea aquariums as well. However, if you aren't as informed as others, it can be quite intriguing to know whether dolphins are dangerous or not, right?
They are known worldwide as one of the most intelligent and friendliest creatures on the planet. It doesn't get any better when they have constantly been the ocean's protectors in different movies. Dolphins love interacting with people, a testament to how friendly they are in how they swim with other people unknowingly and, in some rare cases, even plays with them. Are dolphins dangerous? Let's find out.
What Are Dolphins?
Dolphins aren't considered fish; they are aquatic mammals swimming through different global waters. They fall on the order of cetacea – an order that includes whales and porpoises. And because they are mammals, they prefer warmer waters, making their population significant in subtropical and tropical waters worldwide.
Their streamlined bodies and curved mouths that give them their distinct smiling mouths have captured the hearts of many. There are around 40 dolphin species on the planet, and they are scattered worldwide. They primarily thrive on marine and brackish waters, but dolphin species such as the Amazon River Dolphin and South Asian River Dolphin live in freshwaters.
Did you know that the largest dolphin is the orca? While it may sound crazy, it is true, and they can grow up to 30 feet. On the other hand, the smallest dolphin is the Maui dolphin, which reaches around five feet long.
Do Dolphins Have Teeth?
Like most aquatic mammals, dolphins have teeth, too, that help them chew their food. Their teeth offer the same functions as most aquatic creatures, chewing their food, biting their prey, and crushing the food inside. Dolphins have around 80-100 teeth. While it may sound too many, it isn't primarily used the same way sharks do. Their teeth are smaller in diameter compared to sharks and only have one row of teeth, whereas sharks have several rows.
Are Dolphins Dangerous? Do They Attack Humans?
Dolphins aren't typically scary or dangerous. They are wild animals, and there are only a few incidents where they purposely attacked humans. However, while dolphin attacks are quite rare, there was an incident in 2019 wherein a bottlenose dolphin attacked a girl and dragged her to the bottom. Fortunately, it wasn't as fatal as expected, and the girl escaped with a few minor cuts and bruises.
While dolphin attacks can be as rare as they can be, let it be known that these are creatures and will often be curious. However, don't try to provoke or threaten them, as animal instincts show some behaviors associated with defending themselves.
Will A Mother Dolphin Be More Dangerous?
A mother's instinct will always be for the betterment of her young. Sharks and killer whales are the primary predators of dolphins. However, dolphins primarily thrive with a pod of around 10 to 100 dolphins in a single batch. Therefore, most of its predators will not waste time trying to get the best of them.
However, please note that if a human tries to threaten or harm its young, a mother's instinct will easily kick in, and there would be a good chance you will experience what a 'mother's wrath' would look like.
Is It Okay to Swim with the Dolphins?
While swimming sounds like a great idea for people, it would be wise not to. It would be highly recommended not to interfere with their lives and always respect their space despite their friendly nature. Always remember wild animals are unpredictable and can easily be agitated in a heartbeat.
In addition, you can also do the same way for captive dolphins. Always do your research whenever you're going to a sea aquarium. While some other dolphins will want to pet them, always have a watchful eye as you may not know what you're getting into.
Are Dolphins Aggressive to Humans?
While many people will tell you it's not, the best answer will always be to stay away from them. But for some, it will be a case-to-case basis as some dolphins are quite friendly and will even come close to you and let you pet them. So while it is a good idea to pet them, just be sure you are at a safe distance and on good ground so you won't easily get carried away if dolphins get way too excited.
In addition, always remember dolphins are wild animals. They go out of their way and will do something extraordinary. Treat them respectfully, and they will just coast off the horizon. Don't do something foolish to them, or else you will get your fair share of what's it like to be attacked by a dolphin.
Fortunately, there are far fewer dolphin attacks compared to shark attacks. Still, this doesn't tell you the whole story. It would be best to just leave them be whenever you are out in the wild. Just imagine that dolphins can attack or wound sharks in just a blink of an eye. They wouldn't waste any time if you ever try to provoke or harm them. Always keep a good distance from them and respect their space.
Dolphins are one of the most well-loved and adorned creatures on the planet; while they may be known to be amongst the friendliest of sea creatures you can come across in your lifetime, it is better not to test your judgment on whether or not dolphins are dangerous. Furthermore, some dolphin species are vulnerable and endangered. Therefore, if we're hoping our children can swim with these gentle creatures, we must do whatever means necessary to protect them.
Dolphins play an important role not only in the wildlife, but they have also provided hundreds of thousands of jobs and supplied food for millions of people benefitting from sea aquariums and marine parks. So let's not waste the opportunity and should always be capable of going the extra mile in keeping the dolphin population on the horizon.
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