It has long been known that sharks prefer to avoid dolphin society. They swim away, barely spotting a flock of dolphins. At the same time, half-decomposed corpses of dolphins were repeatedly found in the stomachs of the caught sharks. What’s the secret? And are the toothy queens of the seas really afraid of good-natured cetaceans? Let’s try to figure it out.
Behavior Lines of Sharks and Dolphins
Sharks are generally cautious and circumspect creatures. Perhaps it is thanks to these qualities that their evolution continues for millions of years, providing them with a place at the top of the food chain. However, sharks are solitary predators. It is extremely rare that they gather in small groups, and even then, only in the mating season, in order to then immediately leave.
Dolphins, unlike their reclusive neighbors, travel the ocean in close-knit groups, closely maintaining family ties. They take care of old or weak individuals and, most importantly, hunt and defend together. This does not mean that seeing a predatory open mouth in the distance, dolphins immediately rush to kill their rival. On the contrary, it is sharks who usually initiate attacks.
As a rule, the queen of the seas tracks the weakest member of the pack for a long time, waits for him to lag behind the rest a little, and then attacks. Quite often, she succeeds in hunting, and the well-fed fish, satisfied, swim away.
It’s a completely different scenario if dolphins notice the offender. It is then that the turn of the power of the collective mind comes. The school surrounds the shark and hits it in the body with powerful beaks. Moreover, the dolphin acts with acceleration and meaningfully marks the most vulnerable place – the gill slits, which is similar to a blow to the solar plexus in humans.
Together, dolphins can easily kill a bloodthirsty predator. In addition, white-bellied mammals, with a mass equal to that of sharks, are more maneuverable and more powerful in side collisions. Coordinated group actions help dolphins defeat shark skirmishes. If the dolphin is alone in front of a formidable predator, it is not a fact that it will come out of the fight intact.
Why Are Sharks Afraid of Killer Whales?
We should also mention the species of killer whales. These monstrous predators can even use great white sharks to supplement their menu. However, it should be noted that usually killer whales do not attack first, but attack sharks only when they try to capture their cubs or weakened members of the pack.
So, near the Farallon Islands, it was even possible to get footage of a brutal battle between a large white killer and a killer whale, which ended in an unconditional victory of the latter. In addition to the fact that killer whales attack in groups, they also got the hang of bringing sharks into a state of tonic immobility, in fact, a long-term convulsive muscle contraction. Killer whales hit the sides of the shark with their snouts, turning it upside down.
In this position, the bloodthirsty predator seems to be paralyzed for a while, the sharks become completely helpless. By the way, this method is also demonstrated by divers, when, abruptly twisting the shark by the tail and bringing it into a state of paralysis, they fearlessly thrust their hands into their open mouths. With only one difference – killer whales usually finish off their offenders.
Are Sharks Scared of Dolphins?
Thus, sharks become victims of dolphins only through their own negligence and on the condition that the flock is full of adults. Usually, smart blue ocean patrols simply avoid dolphin society. Not afraid, no.
Sharks clearly calculate their own strength, but they are also familiar with group attacks of cetaceans. That is why they prefer to hunt down the victim for a long time, slowly beating it away from the family, so as not to face the justified aggression of the pack. Dolphin tactics taught sharks to be more careful to win again and again and proudly bear the name of the masters of the world’s oceans.