Believe it or not, dolphins and sharks have a lot in common in that they both share the same habitat and primarily eat the same food. Because of this, they are often found in very close proximity to one another. At TailHunter, our Hilton Head Island eco tours and fishing charter encounter both on nearly a daily basis. So, when the two species get close, are they friends or are they foes? For the most part, dolphins and sharks keep to themselves and go about their business. However, there certainly are times when the two have been known to clash. When that happens, who’s more likely to win the battle?
Unfortunately for dolphins, sharks ultimately have the edge thanks to their sheer size and power. By nature, sharks are aggressors and savage hunters. Dolphins are most vulnerable when they are crater feeding; this is when dolphins bury their beaks in the sand to dig for prey. A shark will often use this as an opportunity for a surprise attack. Unfortunately, this typically doesn’t end well for the dolphin.
However, when challenged by the ocean’s deadliest predator, dolphins aren’t necessarily out for the count. Here’s why: dolphins travel in packs, and therefore, they have strength in numbers. Living in groups allows the dolphins to detect sharks in their area before sharks have a chance to attack. If there is a threat of an attack, multiple dolphins work together to outmaneuver a shark and quickly escape danger. There have been accounts of schools of dolphins have working together to protect humans from shark attacks!
Dolphins also have the advantage of speed as they can swim faster than most shark species. The biggest advantage dolphins have over sharks is intelligence, especially through echolocation (when dolphins send sound waves through the ocean). The waves bounce back with information that is decoded by the dolphin’s brain. A dolphin utilizes echolocation to navigate, communicate, and perhaps most importantly, avoid predators.
Are you interested in seeing dolphins in their natural habitat? Join us on one of our sightseeing dolphin tours in beautiful Hilton Head Island, home to plenty of active Atlantic bottlenose dolphin. Or if sharks are more exciting to you, our fishing charter offers the chance to catch mako, dusky, blacktip, and bonnethead sharks! For more information or to check availability, call TailHunter today: 843-816-4150.