What Do Dolphins Eat? Facts, Catching Technique & Eating Habits

What do dolphins eat depends completely on their species and the place they are located. Generally, what do dolphins eat is a variety of fishes like mackerel, cod, herring and squids and as they belong to the Whale family, some of them can even eat other mammals and turtles. From this, we can say that their eating lifestyle is supple and depends on certain conditions.

What Do Dolphins Eat

Here are the factors that depend on what do dolphins eat.

1. Their Species

In the Dolphin family, Killer Whales are the largest and Vaquita and Finless Porpoise are the smallest and lightest respectively. And accordingly, they hunt for their respective foods.

Killer Whales or Orca: As dolphins are the cousins of the Whale family, here I will tell you about what they eat. Whales are very strict carnivores and due to their gigantic size they feed large prey. Killer whales can eat marine mammals like sea lions, seals, turtles and some full-size fishes.

Killer Whale

Black Dolphins or Chilean Dolphin: Black Dolphins are the one everyone loves. Their shiny black and white texture and the water stunts are pleasure watching. Our black-and-white friend lives only at the coast of Chile. As these dolphins are smaller in size they hunt small fishes like cephalopods, crustaceans, and all that.

Black Dolphins or Chilean Dolphin

Bottlenose Dolphins: These are the most common type of dolphins found in the tropical and temperate seas. what do dolphins eat those are bottlenose? Like Black dolphins, this one also eats fishes like mackerel, mullet, and catfish but also includes other sea creatures like shrimp, crabs, octopus, squid and some other small fellows. Like all the other dolphins this one also surrounds their prey and feed turn by turn. Bottlenoses are very sporty; they stunt the fish by their tail and then eat them.
Bottlenose Dolphins

Amazon River Dolphins: These foodie guys feed on around 40 different species of fishes, including the freshwater fishes and Crustaceans.

Dusky Dolphins: This category of dolphins loves to have squids, shrimps, anchovies and variety of fishes.

Spinner Dolphins: These social mammals feed fresh jellyfish, fish and krill.

Rough-Toothed Dolphins: Ya they look funny and hence they have their homes in the deep ocean water. Quite away from us! These fellows usually have squid in their meal.

Rough-Toothed Dolphins

Vaquita or New Zealand’s Dolphins: Due to their smaller size of around 1.5 meters they hunt the prey smaller than them and generally feed on tiny fishes.

2. The Required Nourishment

Yap, I know you might be thinking what do dolphins eat and how dolphins can judge their requirements. As I have already told you all that dolphins are very intelligent they can make judgments of their feeding requirements. They only hunt when they are hungry and take in a very appropriate manner.

Dolphin’s victims like herring or mackerel restrain fat on the other hand squid has less fat, more water and energy material. So, to keep their chubby belly happy they eat more of squid and less of such fishes.

3. The Place They Live

Dolphins are the sea mammals however there some species do have their living in the fresh water and hence they have even adopted the habitat of the surrounding they are residing according to the availability of the foodstuffs. Like the dolphins living in the endless sea water eats octopus, big fishes, squids and all, wherein dolphins having their homes in the freshwater eats small freshwater fishes and the other water creatures.

4. Their Weight

An average dolphin weight around 200 kg to 250 kg and to keep their weight maintained they have to eat at least 15kg to 30kg of fish every day. Yes, that is huge. So, now did you know why your mom always said a No-No to a dolphin pet? I guess yes!

As their food requirements are quite higher they never stay at a place, because if they will do so they will run out of stock! So, they prefer to migrate in search of food.

The other thing that will give you a surprise about Dolphins is they don’t take deep sleep like their other oceanic pals, because if they do so they will die drowning. So, while sleeping these poor chaps keep their one sided brain active and the other let sleep. Half Lively – Half Asleep!

So as you by now know what do dolphins eat, let’s know how do they get their food.

How do dolphins get their food:

When you were a kid you might have heard Dolphins whistling. Yes, they actually make a shrilling sound. They use this sound as sonar to locate the objects or obstacles on the way. And with this, they also locate their food.
what do dolphins eat Catching MethodDolphins are very social and they swim and hunt their prey in groups, which makes their nosh track easy. They even follow a method described as herding to catch their feed. They surround a crowd of their would-be victim and compress the prey’s school with their other dolphin friends. After this, some keep them surrounded and some feed. Pretty clever! What do you think?

In the below video you can get to know more about what do dolphins eat and their haunting strategy:

Another amazing fact about these dolphins is they do have teeth still they don’t chew their food. They just grab, bite and swallow! Lazy fellows!

Frequently Ask Questions

Q: What do dolphins eat?

A: Dolphins are carnivorous marine mammals that primarily feed on fish and squid.

Q: Do dolphins eat other marine animals?

A: Yes, dolphins also consume a variety of marine animals, including crustaceans, shrimp, octopuses, and small marine mammals like seals and sea lions.

Q: Are all dolphin species strictly carnivorous?

A: While most dolphin species have a carnivorous diet, some dolphins, like the Amazon river dolphin (also known as the pink river dolphin), feed on a combination of fish, crustaceans, and plants found in freshwater environments.

Q: How do dolphins catch their prey?

A: Dolphins employ different hunting techniques based on their species and the type of prey they are targeting. Common strategies include herding fish into tight groups, stunning prey with tail slaps or headbutts, and cooperative hunting in groups to encircle and catch schools of fish.

Q: Are dolphins known to eat humans?

A: No, dolphins do not typically eat humans. They are generally friendly and social creatures that do not pose a threat to humans in terms of predation.


Vidhita Naidu
Vidhita Naidu
I am fun loving, witty, ambitious and the one who loves to play with words.

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