There are thousands of creatures roaming through earth's waters, and although you might know some of them, nothing beats these two recognizable creatures on the planet, Sharks and Dolphins. In movies, they are often depicted as archrivals as dolphins tend to be more friendly and fend off sharks, whereas sharks are known to be fearsome creatures scattered around the world looking for food.
Now, you might be wondering what might happen when two of these creatures meet out in the open. However, we are not talking about that for the moment, and we will learn more about their differences and what makes them unique from each other. So, are you ready to learn a few interesting differences and similarities both of these creatures possess? Let's find out!
Shark vs Dolphins: Learn More About It
For us to fully grasp the idea of their difference, let's break them down into several categories to distinguish what sets them apart.
Type Of Animal
The first and most evident difference between these two sea creatures is that dolphins are mammals, whereas sharks are fish. Sharks are cold-blooded creatures and have gills and scale. On the other hand, dolphins give birth to live young, warm-blooded creatures and nurse their young until they can fend for themselves. They also breathe air and are born with hair.
Another feature that separates them apart is sharks are cartilaginous creatures – which means that their skeletons, like ears and nose, are made up of cartilages. Dolphins are made up of bones and are denser. Sharks belong to the family of elasmobranchs that consists of other species such as sawfish, whale sharks, rays, and skates. Dolphins belong to the family of cetaceans that consists of porpoises, baleen, and toothed whales.
Diet and Habitat
Sharks and dolphins are what we call "opportunistic feeders", which means they eat whatever's available on the menu and are mainly carnivores. Although they have a varied diet, they lean more on shrimps, small crustaceans, and squid. However, in some instances, sharks will eat other species of sharks, seals, walruses, planktons, and other species, but it all depends on the shark species.
Dolphins need to go to the surface just to breathe, while sharks live underwater for the rest of their lives without the need to emerge from the water just to breathe air. It is also one of the reasons why some species of sharks thrive in different bodies of water such as freshwater, rivers, coral reefs, and coastal waters.
Both sharks and dolphins are easily the most recognizable marine creatures on the planet. That's why it is not hard to distinguish between them. Dolphins have countershading features, meaning their backs are darker than their bellies, a unique trait that helps them blend in with their environment.
Sharks have gills, that's why they don't need to resurface. They have two pectoral fins, dorsal fins, and a tail. Their tails have a different mechanism for propulsion underwater, and dolphins use their tails in an up-and-down motion to propel themselves and swim, whereas sharks use their tails in sideways motion to swim. In addition, dolphins have blowholes to breathe air, whereas sharks have gills.
Reputation and Attitude
When we talk about attitude and reputation, these are two of the most contrasting features they each possess. Sharks are fearsome creatures known for their attacks on humans, whereas dolphins tend to be on the friendlier side of things. Sharks are often blamed for human attacks as they often mistake surfers, divers, and swimmers for food. Their reputation doesn't get any better as they have been portrayed as killing machines in different movies across the globe.
Meanwhile, dolphins are loveable and gentle creatures. Because of these positive traits they possess, they don't treat humans as food. Dolphins and humans are known to do different kinds of stunt shows and exhibitions throughout different sea amusement parks worldwide. They are often regarded as one of the few helpers of mankind despite the former being the greatest threat to their survival. Still, dolphins are often viewed as gentle creatures roaming throughout the planet.
In addition, sharks would often live their lives alone, whereas dolphins thrive in pods or groups. When in captivity, sharks aren't highly trainable, as even the young ones tend to bite. On the other hand, dolphins are highly trainable and would even follow your lead in most cases when living in captivity.
Who Would Win In a Fight?
Although fighting between these two aquatic animals is a rarity, let's figure out which one comes out on top if ever they have to do battle. If we're going to talk about which of them goes victorious when the battle is done, the easy answer is sharks. They are one of the largest predatory animals in our ocean, and they have a keen sense of predation. They are also larger, faster, and adept at hunting prey.
Furthermore, a shark's mouth consists of hundreds of serrated teeth that can easily deal, damage, and chomp down an unwary dolphin instantly. Dolphins lack the physical abilities that sharks have, and their physical attributes are not strong enough to even deal damage these enormous creatures.
However, it's a different story when dolphins attack a shark. As we've mentioned, dolphins live in groups and are more adept when packed together. Although they can't easily beat a shark, they still can fend off shark attacks in groups, even in large numbers. But if we talk about a 1-on-1 battle, sharks will win this match easily.
Overall, there are more differences than similarities between dolphins and sharks possess. They have many differences that allow people to distinguish which is which. Still, both are an essential part of the various marine ecosystems, and having one without the other is a bad sign for everyone. Lastly, let's conserve and protect these creatures, so our kids will experience what's it like to live with these gentle and fearsome sea animals.
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