Ever wondered, “What do Dolphins Eat?” Then you’re in the right place! In simplistic terms, if it glides through the water, there’s a good chance it’s on a dolphin’s menu. From crustaceans like crabs to mollusks and other shellfish, dolphins have a diverse diet. So, let’s dive deeper into this aquatic world.
Understanding a Dolphin’s Predatory Instincts
Dolphins are opportunistic feeders. Put another way, they don’t limit themselves to a specific type of fish. Their diet depends on what’s nearby, and they can eat a surprising amount! A dolphin that weighs between 400 and 500 pounds can consume between 25 to 60 pounds of fish daily, sometimes more. Hence, these beautiful creatures are always on the move, migrating from one feeding ground to another to satisfy their appetite.
From Tiny Plankton to Hearty 12 Pounders
We often think of dolphins gulping down big fish. But actually, their meals range in size. Some dolphins even dine on plankton, the tiniest creatures in the ocean. However, to accurately answer the question “What do Dolphins eat?” we’d have to consider their setting. Since most species forage in the depths, out of sight, our understanding comes from investigating the stomach contents of their caught compatriots.
Fatty Fish Takes The Gold
Regarding marine cuisine, dolphins are fond of fattier fish like herring, mackerel, and cod. Even the mighty Orca, a dolphin family member, singles out the fatty Pacific salmon. Despite its lower fat content, squid also constitutes a prominent portion of most dolphin diets, meaning they have to catch and eat more of this cephalopod to meet their needs.
Dolphin’s Hunting Techniques
Watching a dolphin catch its prey is a spectacle. Dolphins employ clever tactics:
- They swat at fish with their tails to stun them, making for an easy snack.
- Dolphins, being sociable creatures, hunt in pods. They combine their efforts to corral their prey, pushing them into shallower waters.
- They display their herding skills, circling groups of fish, bunching them together, and then taking turns to rush in, munching up as many fish as they can in one go.
Friend or Foe to the Fisherman?
There are accounts of dolphins aiding human fishermen by gathering fish and sharing the rewards. Conversely, they’ve been known to snatch fish out of oblivious fishermen’s nets, too. But can you blame them? They’re intelligent creatures responding intuitively to the call of their stomachs.
The Freshwater Perspective
Coincidentally, freshwater dolphins share similar dietary preferences to their saltwater cousins. Despite the variety among dolphin species, the answer to “What do Dolphins Eat?” can be summarized – fish and squid.