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Are some wild bottlenose dolphins evil?

Are some wild bottlenose dolphins evil?

Are some wild bottlenose dolphins evil?

Bottlenose dolphins can empathize with others inside and outside their species, imagine multiple responses to a given scenario and choose their course of action among them. That makes them ethical creatures, with each of their *conscious* decisions being a matter of ethics. We can describe each conscious bottlenose dolphin action as more or less empathetic, exploitative, etc. But I have a hard time imagining that someone could understand the life of the mind and the nature of free will enough to ascribe it to dolphins and still believe that it’s useful to label whole individuals “evil” as though there was a clear, non-arbitrary helpful way to apply that label.

I guess I believe that we are, at most, a few decades from being able to use a version of fMRI to establish a given dolphin’s conscious decision-making and empathic capacity in a given situation and establish that the dolphin is incapable of being reasoned with to reduce whatever exploitative behaviour it’s exhibiting, such that we permit ourselves to violate that dolphin’s will in ensuring it doesn’t continue that same harmful pattern of behaviour, either with drugs, or with psychosurgery, or with dolphin jail/spatial restriction, or with euthanasia/execution. But can you imagine, even in THAT scenario, that the people involved would still use the word “evil” in deciding to override that dolphin’s free will? What if the dolphin was just hell-bent on hacking Snapchat? Would the justice system call him evil, the same as the other bottlenose caught murdering other dolphins for fun?

Are some wild bottlenose dolphins evil?

The concept of good and evil is not particularly useful in biology. Such things are largely philosophical and can only be applied with *some* success in human behaviour where the intention is known. Whether or not nonhumans are even conscious has yet to be demonstrated definitively, so questions of their moral code are largely beyond the scope of science.

What IS useful, however, is to look at selective pressures in the environment that would favour some behaviours over others. Anything that helps the dolphins reproduce will be favoured and become more common over time. Whatever you’re opinion on dolphin behaviour, it’s important to remember it was selected over many generations and is largely a product of the environment.

This introduces even larger philosophical dilemmas. Still, those can be avoided if you abandon the good and evil model and take the world for what it is.

Why are sharks afraid of dolphins?


Dolphins will round up sharks like they round up fish. Dolphins send part of the pod to attack the sharks.

The pod swims around the trapped sharks as the attackers ram their gills, and sometimes their sides, full on.

I have observed dolphins kill three Bull sharks and two Great Whites this way.

They left the bodies and continued rounding up the fish they were after.

We were diving about half a mile away. The dolphins always make me feel safe.

They will hunt with sharks, but not when the pod has spent time rounding up fish into a column.

A large pod of killer whales will do the same thing, only faster.

Are some wild bottlenose dolphins evil?

They are large dolphins and go straight into ram sharks, often one from each side.

The largest of the dolphins always makes me smile. They don’t like sharks.

Killer whales (Orca) and dolphins are very careful around human divers.

Orcas are not whales; they are part of the dolphin family. They are not aggressive.

If you carry a spear gun, I would prefer to avoid your chances. These highly intelligent ocean dwellers know what those are.

When an Orca swims with me and moves before me, then repeats this, I know it wants me to return now! I do, and wait to see what the pod is planning.

If a young one comes back to my dive group and vocalizes, we’re all aware it is time to go and follow our young friend to the surface.

Orcas are more intelligent than smaller dolphins. Whales, to me, are the best of the lot!

All of them communicate with their pods with each other, plan attacks, and are human-friendly (unless a human has hurt them).

If I was a shark, would I fear dolphins? Yes, I am very afraid!

Thank you, Sean Yao, for this question.


AUSTRALIAN Institute of Marine Science, Queensland.


I’ve heard that dolphins “bully” sharks. Is this true? How exactly do dolphins bully sharks? Shouldn’t sharks be able to kill dolphins?

Dolphins have several advantages over sharks. Other answers have mentioned their intelligence, agility, and ability to cooperate. But a key advantage not mentioned elsewhere is that they breathe air.

You might think that’s an issue. Certainly, for humans, having to hold our breath underwater is very limiting for us without scuba gear. But air holds far more oxygen than water, and dolphins have a variety of adaptations, including an efficient way to inhale without sticking their heads out of the water.

The consequence is that they can move far faster sustainedly than sharks. Sharks can put on a burst of speed but can’t keep it up, hampered by their two-chambered heart.

And while we see sharks as fearsome predators, an injured shark doesn’t have a shark hospital to go to. If a shark gets injured, it’s probably a goner. Sharks must expose themselves to danger to attack since they can’t throw stones or jab with spears.

So, like other apex predators (apart from man), sharks greatly prefer to attack animals that are less likely to be able to injure them. Even the most dangerous of all sharks, the great white, attacks with a sneak attack where it tries to ambush its prey, deliver a mighty bite, and then back off until its prey appears to have succumbed to that injury.

The trouble with dop hins is that they’re tough to ambush. What with their sonar, brains, agility, and living in groups—odds are a shark attack will fail, and the pack will then attack it.

And, of course, attacking the biggest dolphin, the orca would just be suicidal. Even a great white shark can’t stand up to a single orca, much like the groups they live in.

So sharks steer clear of dolphins unless they find one alone and injured.

One analogy would be hawks and crows. A crow can’t kill a harrier or red-tail hawk, much less a golden eagle. But crows, like dolphins, live in groups, are highly intelligent and agile, and if a hawk gets near crows’ nesting areas, they mob the hawk. And the hawk invariably gets out of Dodge.

Nature isn’t simple. Being an apex predator isn’t as easy as you might think.

Are some wild bottlenose dolphins evil?

Do octopuses ever peck people with their powerful parrot-like beaks? What is it like to be bitten by an octopus?

Update! Scroll to the end for a humorous update: (1/31/21)

Not as often as you’d think, and it’s not as bad as you’d think. In 25+ years of keeping, studying, working with and occasionally harassing various octopuses of various species, I’ve been bitten only twice, and neither one was serious. The octopus sank its beak into my arm but withdrew it momentarily. The animal could have easily taken a good chunk out but only pierced the skin. It feels like a parakeet or parrot bite, but wet and surrounded by a zillion suction cups. Both times, the octopus in question was under a bit of coercion. They both probably injected their venom into me, but I’m not sure for reasons you’ll discover in a moment. One was a medium-sized California Two-Spot octopus (O. bimaculoides) in my lab, and one was a large common octopus (O. vulgaris) out in the field during a squid study- I had pulled it out of its den. I was showing it to the squid specialist woman who would later become my wife. She had never experienced a big octopus encounter before, and I had to measure it for our data anyway.

I have felt the octopus’ beak lightly nibble me many times while handling them. Our current octopus, Darwin, does it during almost every interaction. I think it’s part of the octopus’s “checking you out” system.

Here is Darwin, our aforementioned Caribbean two-spot octopus (O hummelinki), hamming it up for his audience. Note that octopuses keep their beak and the buccal mass (the anatomy that houses it) in storage when not needed. The beak would emerge from that dot in the centre, where the arms meet.

The octopus does not use its beak as a weapon, per se, because it’s in a very bad fighting spot strategically. To score a solid bite, the animal must first expose its entire boneless, armorless, soft, and vulnerable body. No, it’s more like a can opener to help disassemble their favourite prey: crustaceans.

Here’s Darwin again, this time disassembling a crayfish with his beak:

Edit: I found a good photo of the beak emerging from the octopus. (thanks, Getty Images!)

As you can probably see, if some poor creature has gotten into a situation close to the octopus’s beak, then generally speaking, something has already gone terribly wrong. Far and away, the octopus’s most formidable weapon is its sheer strength, multiplied by eight arms, each lined with tactile sucker discs. If you find yourself up against its beak, then chances are you’ve already been swarmed and subdued.

Octopuses are ridiculously strong. I am a reasonably large man. 6’3” and over 200 pounds. An adult Giant Pacific Octopus about the size of a basketball once came very close to hauling me right into his tank with just four arms. Remember that leverage was heavily tilted in my favour because the tank edge was about at my chest. It didn’t seem to matter. That octopus latched onto both of my arms and yanked me with the strength of 4 men my size. If not for the octopus keeper’s quick reflexes helping to brace me, I would have gone for a swim.

That said, the beak is the octopus’s mouth. If it decides that a dose of venom is in your future, it’ll bite you and dose you, like I suspect my two biters may have. In most cases, it will be quite futile. Most octopus venom is completely harmless to humans because it’s hyperspecialized to paralyze their favourite prey: crustaceans and molluscs. There are exceptions, however. For example, the venom of the Pacific Red Octopus, Octopus rubescens, can cause paralysis in a limb, and it reportedly hurts like blazes. Of course, the star of the octopus venom show is one of the smaller species hailing from Australia and Southeast Asia: the Hapalochlaena. Blue Ringed Octopuses.

Blue-ringed octopuses wield one of the most powerful toxins on earth: tetrodotoxin. It’s a neurotoxin that paralyzes your muscles- including your breathing muscles. The dose delivered in one bite is strong enough to affect over 20 humans. It’s so strong it’s been postulated that this little octopus, barely larger than a squash ball, could even bite an elephant. They are considered one of the most venomous animals in the world, and what’s scary is that these little octopuses live in shallow water around beaches, making human encounters inevitable. There have been bites and deaths, and because of this, there are warning signs at Australian beaches. Ahhh, Australia, you never let us down.

Image credit: Star105 radio station and podcast.

But back to the topic: if you google “Blue Ringed Octopus,” note how many photos you find of people holding one in their hand or on their bare skin. You couldn’t pay me to take this risk, but this speaks volumes about how reluctant octopuses are to use their beaks offensively. Most blue ring bites happened because the octopus was trapped or restricted somehow. For example, a bather finds a nice seashell and sticks it in their suit, not realizing a little octopus is living in it. As the octopus tries to figure out what happened, it tries to emerge from the shell only to get pinched again and again by the bather’s movement. Eventually, it gets so stressed out it bites.

In my experience, octopuses don’t bite people unless stressed out and have no other options. I also noted this trait in this answer: What would be its response if a person slaps a huge octopus? When it comes to fight or flight, octopuses always take flight. Octopuses are not fighters.

Thank you for the answer request! I enjoy answering questions about my cephalopod experience.


I’ve been contacted by some people who were bitten/beaked by an octopus and suffered a reaction. Please keep in mind that any bite from any animal can get infected. Even though octopus bites are generally not as physically severe as they could be, they tend to be deep, and I have never seen an octopus brush its beak.

The other point I neglected to consider is allergies. Bee stings are annoying to some and deadly to others. The best practice is to leave any octopuses alone unless you know what you’re doing and are willing to accept any risk. They are wild animals.

Humorous addendum 1/31/21:

We pulled some strings and obtained an Octopus bimaculoides- one of the tamest and hardiest octopus species known. This is the species all keepers want to keep. And this one, Admiral Ackbar, is THE BITEYIST OCTOPUS I HAVE EVER ENCOUNTERED. In two weeks, this octopus has bitten me three times, so now I have a photo for you:

There you go, that’s an octopus beak bite courtesy of this orange-sized octopus. It wasn’t out of malice or fear. I think the big guy got overwhelmed with all the attention. He was hanging onto my hand in a rather friendly manner, and then I felt a chomp.

Do animals remember harm done to them, and can they take revenge?

I knew a woman who had worked at the Philadelphia Zoo and spent most of her time with the Gorillas.

The Philly Zoo is very careful with its workers and limits human contact with its animals to ensure human and animal safety. To do so, there are usually “catwalks” or tunnels with fenced sides in each enclosure. These funnel animals to and from different areas where they are fed or receive veterinary care. The animals are accustomed to this and usually do their job without hesitation since food is used as an incentive.

As a precaution, cattle prods are available for keepers to use. I assume this is for breaking up fights between animals rather than keeper safety since there is usually no contact between keepers and their animals.

A colleague of the woman I knew favoured the cattle prods more than other keepers. I suspect there were times when it was necessary to utilize force, but from what I can gather, the gorillas were well-behaved.

Despite this, the woman would constantly bang on the sides of the tunnels and yell at the animals. She would prod the gorillas and was generally nasty to the animals. Why? Who knows, but my friend hated this. I’m not sure why anything was done about the woman, but she got what was coming to her.

For those who do not know, gorillas are incredibly sophisticated animals capable of experiencing deep emotions. They’re intelligent creatures that readily learn and utilise sign language to communicate. A famous gorilla, Coco, had an I.Q. equivalent to any special needs five-year-old human.

And although usually gentle, Gorillas are also very, very strong.

One day, the lady’s colleague made a huge error in judgment. She stuck her arm through the bars of the tunnel to wiggle the large steel plate that acted as a door to the gorilla enclosure. The mechanism (similar to that of a guillotine) which hoisted the heavy divider upwards and downwards had become stuck and would not lower the plate.

Now, I’m not sure if the rope used to pull the door had fallen through the bars or if something had lodged in one of the tracks; regardless, one of the gorillas noticed the nasty colleague attempting to fix it and took the opportunity to pull the steel plate firmly down on her bare arm.

Whether or not the gorilla had grabbed the fallen rope or forcibly pushed down on the door, I do not know. However, one thing was clear — the primate’s actions were deliberate. Despite other keepers leaping to action, their efforts were futile. It stayed there as long as that gorilla wanted to keep the door clamped on her arm. Eventually, the gorilla relinquished the door, and the woman’s arm was released.

In the end, I don’t think the lady lost her arm, but she suffered several fractures, and the gorilla ensured she would not return to the primate house again.

That was a while ago, but I doubt anything serious has happened since then.

All animals remember the people who are kind or cruel to them, but the intelligent ones will act on it if given the chance.

Why can’t sharks be as friendly as dolphins?

Sharks can be pretty friendly!

The vast majority of times sharks encounter humans, they leave us alone. It’s only a couple of cases of mistaken identity where they bother us.

Some of them love to have their bellies rubbed!

Sharks are just a kind of fish, but most species have big teeth and beady eyes that we irrationally perceive as “scary”. Sharks can seriously harm or kill humans, and their attacks are frightening, but the same is true of gorillas, monkeys, dolphins, horses, and elephants.

In light of the shark finning that will soon lead to their extinction, the better question is, why can’t humans be friendly to sharks?

Do dolphins or porpoises ever attack humans?

Yes. Yes, they do.

When people think of dolphins, they associate the bottlenose dolphin with Flipper, shows at their local aquarium or marine park, glittery notebook covers and other school supplies. They’re harmless, right? After all, an animal that’s always smiling can’t possibly be vicious or violent, right?

The bottle-nosed dolphin is a surprisingly large animal — your average dolphin is twice as long as you are and potentially several times as heavy. You’re also probably meeting it in the water, where it has a distinct advantage. And this is a wild animal we’re talking about. A wild animal with a propensity towards violence, rape, and killing indiscriminately — including babies of their species.

While attacks are uncommon (I’m not going to include captive animal attacks for obvious reasons), they exist. Some of them can get downright nasty.

  • Here’s a story about Dusty, a female dolphin off the coast of Ireland that people had taken to trying to swim with and who didn’t appreciate the attention. In 2013, she sent four people to the hospital in three months.
  • Here’s another story from Ireland, this one of a male dolphin named Clet lashing out at swimmers and even attempting to drown at least one. He’s gotten a reputation; here’s an article that mentions how he’s known for his aggressiveness towards swimmers.
  • Here’s a story about an unnamed male dolphin attacking swimmers and boaters off Louisiana, United States coast.
  • Here’s an article from a Hawaiian tourism website about why swimming with dolphins is not a good idea — including the fact that “dozens of bites have been reported, and people have been pulled under the water”.
  • Here’s a story from Rio about a dolphin named Tião who lashed out at two swimmers harassing him and killed one of them. According to his Wikipedia page, he has also sent at least 28 swimmers to the hospital.

All these focus on a single species, the bottlenose. I’ve also heard of other species attacking humans, including a pilot whale that pulled a diver down 30 feet before taking her back up. And, of course, everyone’s heard of Blackfish, the documentary about Tilikum the orca, who has killed three people so far.

So, yes, dolphins do attack humans. Those attacks are very rare, especially compared to human attacks on dolphins. But, still, they do happen.

What are the best ways to avoid being attacked by a dolphin in the wild? These tips apply to both swimmers and boaters.

  1. Respect the animal. This is a wild animal, not an animated character or a Lisa Frank notebook come to life.
  2. Do not approach the animal. Let it come to you if it wishes. If it does not wish, let it alone.
  3. Do not harass the animal. Do not try to restrain the animal or touch its sensitive blowhole or melon (forehead). It’s probably best not to touch it at all.
  4. If it appears to be becoming agitated, leave. The water is its home, not yours.
  5. Do not feed dolphins. Feeding dolphins can get you in major legal trouble in some places. In others, it’s still not a good idea.

Are dolphins as friendly and non-violent as they’re depicted in movies?

Hhahahahahahahahahahhhehahhoooohoohahahahhehahhahhohoooohhahahahah… hahahahahahahahahah… hehe… ha.. Hoooo… NOPE!

Dolphins are some of the most twisted animals on the fucking planet. Sorry to ruin your favourite childhood movies starring dolphins.

But how could something so cute and majestic be as evil as you describe Ben? Well…

A 3-second Google search will reveal that male dolphins like to rape females.

Just think over that for a minute…

What the actual fuck. What the actual fuck…

Yep, Bottlenose dolphins during mating season will form ‘gangs’ to avoid competition. These gangs then rape female dolphins.

Oh, but you thought that was it? It gets fucking worse

Male dolphins have been known to kill the baby calves of female dolphins as they aren’t sexually active whilst looking after a child. Baby dolphin calves have washed up on beaches with severe blunt trauma to themselves. You can tell that other dolphins did it as a predator would have eaten it.

That’s the equivalent of a human punching a baby until it dies, then discarding the corpse all to get some action.






I’m not ever going to swim with these murderers and rapists if I go on a holiday.

Fuck dolphins. They should be arrested. They are just sea demons.

Please note I am not saying all dolphins behave in the manner I have described; I am just saying that there have been several instances of this behaviour and that all the movies with dolphins leave this behaviour out.

If dolphins are dangerous, then why are they presented as nice?

Dolphins generally aren’t dangerous to humans, even in the wild.

They tend to be more dangerous in captivity.

Killer whales, the largest and most lethal dolphin, have no recorded incidents of harming or killing humans in the wild. But in captivity, they have been known to go insane and kill their handlers.

Even “harmless” animals are always dangerous if they are ten times bigger than you. Whale sharks, for instance, are generally harmless to humans, but their sheer size can make them a threat if they inadvertently bump you. Same with cows.

Bottlenose dolphins, which you are probably referring to, fortunately, are pretty small and are generally harmless to humans. However, there are incidents of some of them getting horny and wanting to rape scuba divers. While I haven’t heard of such a case, these dolphins are a pretty horny lot and have been known to be aroused by human women.

Still, you should probably be safe if you are wearing a chastity belt while snorkelling with them.

Which organisms, other than humans, kill for fun?

The problem is, how do we know that an animal kills for fun? How do we know the animal is feeling “fun”?

We can try to have an educated guess about an animal’s motivation for killing, but we cannot know for sure.

We can say that an animal may not have killed another for food if it’s, for example, an herbivore, like a moose, deer or an elephant, attacking and killing someone. Or if a carnivore kills an animal but does not eat it. But even when the kill is not for food, how do we know the motivation was to have fun?

In the case of cats, many eat the prey, at least in part. They may enjoy the hunt or the chase, as dogs like to chase skateboarders or squirrels. It’s part of the prey drive and the instinct that makes them hunters because carnivores that did not evolve to be good hunters are not around anymore.

In the case of herbivores, in many cases, the animals that will attack and kill have been abused before (like circus elephants) or because they are defending territory or the herd (like a water buffalo).

Even chimps, when they hunt, consume the meat of the critters.

I think it is hard to find in non-human animals an exact parallel with humans who hunt (or fish) exclusively for sport, with no need to defend a territory, no intention of eating the meat or using the hide or other parts for a practical purpose, other than boasting or display.

Are dolphins more dangerous than sharks?

Will yes, especially Male dolphins to be more aggressive. They tend to kill young babies and dolphins and gangrape females of their species. They do grope humans, too. They terrorize, drown and murder other animals for fun.

Sharks are less aggressive but like their space. They only attack if hunting or someone is swimming horizontally toward them. We look like seals, especially with flippers or on surfboards.

You mostly be raped by a dolphin and then bitten by a shark.

Why are wild dolphins dangerous?

It is not that wild dolphins are dangerous; all wild animals are “wild” or unpredictable. This means that even docile creatures will defend themselves against a perceived threat or if they are “in a mood.” Just as you or I might verbally snap at someone, a dolphin or animal might do the same; that said, more often than not, dolphins (and my experience is with Bottlenose) will not harm you: they might ignore you or curiously come by. Any animal capable of biting or harming CAN do so, which is important to remember. Dolphins use their peduncles (area from dorsal to tail and flukes to pack quite a wallop if they need [to defend against sharks, for instance].

One might ask, “Why should humans not approach wild dolphins?” and the overwhelming, nearly unanimous answer from people [scientists, marine mammal keepers, researchers] is wild dolphins cannot afford to trust people or become comfortable around people because people might be ignorant or untrustworthy and do the animal harm.

Why do people find dolphins cute?

Because they know how to smile.

They are playful

They are friendly

Look at this cute baby dolphin. <3

How hard can a dolphin bite a person (if it ever does), and how does it compare to the very hardest a dog can bite?

I have never been bitten by one, but I used to feed them from a kayak in the Indian River lagoon.

I would knock on the side of my plastic kayak and feed them bait fish from the bait shop where I launched.

This went on once or twice a week for about a month.

Eventually, they got tired of my food distribution techniques, knocked the kayak over, and took everything.

They are large, powerful wild predators who are highly intelligent and curious about us. I think of their social structure in terms of a teenage biker gang.

They were aggressive, but I would not have lasted 5 seconds if they wanted me dead.

Wild dolphins are not to be trifled with.

I saw many schools of porpoises during my time in the Pacific. Their choreographed dances and bow-riding the fleet stunned me. I never felt that they had the innate aggressiveness that I saw many times in dolphins.

An apt comparison might be the chimpanzee compared to the other great apes, including the bonobo.

How does your dog communicate with you, letting you know your dog is not a dummy?

Last week I got a laser toy. For one evening, we had fun with the three dogs trying to catch the light in the yard. At the beginning of the second “session”, Jack stopped in his tracks – looked at me, looked at the laser in my hand, looked at the small red light on the grass, then looked at me again. That was it. He figured out that it was just a “fake”. He never chased the light again.

A few weeks ago, I went to cut his nails. He hates it. I gave him one piece of bacon, and he let me cut one nail. Another piece of bacon, another nail. I tried two nails per bacon, and he hid his paw under him with an offended look. Who said they can’t count??

Can dogs understand the human language?

Most dogs understand that “walking” means going outside, and they get very happy. Our German shepherd learned that many other words also meant going outside – garden, salad, lettuce, vegetable, tomato, potato, compost, beans, boots, clogs…. We could be curled up in the living room discussing any other topic with no reaction from her, but ask, “Would you like green beans with the chicken tonight?” She’d jump to the door as if saying, “Green beans! Green beans! I know just where you keep them! Let’s go!” Her name was Reba, and she’d been taken away from a man who beat her badly. She was such a joy to live with.

Can a dolphin hurt a human?

Crikey, yes, very much so.

Several tons of weight and teeth like this?

Never mind hurt; they could eat you.

I won’t mind. (*really and truly almost definitely)

But remember that the biggest dolphin is the orca, and that orcas specialize in taking adult (8 meters, ~10 tons) minke whales.

Even smaller dolphins like the Stenella genus – think about the strength in propelling a body this far out of the water and what it would do if applied to any part of a human.

Dolphins can and do hurt humans regularly – wild, solitary bottlenose dolphins which come into extensive contact with humans, such as Fungie, the Dingle Dolphin, or his ‘colleague’ Dusty in Co. Clare, have been responsible for some nasty injuries.

There’s a lesson here: These are powerful, wild animals that must be left well alone. They’re no risk to anybody ever when they’re given a respectfully wide berth and, of course, when they have their freedom.

How intelligent is the octopus?

All animals have some degree of intelligence, or they wouldn’t have been able to survive for millions of years. When we try to decide if some animals are more intelligent than others, we tend to equate the animals’ intelligence with human intelligence, which is treading down the wrong path. Each animal can be as intelligent as needed to find a mate, get food, produce offspring, and not get eaten. Some animals, such as orcas and octopuses, can solve problems beyond basic survival needs.

An octopus can find ways out of their aquarium if they aren’t happy (they’re very good escape artists – maybe that equates to avoiding danger), or how to take the lid off of a jar to get to the food inside (a puzzle that was presented in several “in-the-field” experiments). Do they have emotions? Most definitely, yes. Do they feel pain? Absolutely. Do they each have different personalities? Without a doubt. Does that make them intelligent? I would speculate that it does because it extends beyond what is necessary for survival. So, my short answer is: YES, they are intelligent. No, they can’t solve mathematical equations yet, but that experiment hasn’t yet been presented to them. But maybe it will someday.

What dolphin behaviours have you seen that have helped you understand what it is like to be a dolphin?

When we swam with them, they talked to each other. I got the impression that they were discussing us. Making fun of us, too. It felt that way. They were “teenagers”, about 2-3 years old.

We interacted with two of them as a whole group and in pairs, and I got to interact with just one because our group of humans had an uneven number. This meant that they had to decide who would partner up with me.

Since they were being bribed with fish, whoever teamed up with me would get extra help. This was interesting. The human liaison asked them who wanted to partner with me, and the two dolphins discussed it. Instead of being competitive(like dogs), they seemed rational, and I thought they made a deal: “This time you, next time me”.

Do wild dolphins attack humans on purpose or for fun?

Before you ask ‘why’, you should ask ‘if’.

While possible, I’ve never heard of a dolphin attacking humans.

Since dolphins can kill even very large sharks by headbutting them in the stomachs, and sharks are beautifully adapted to the water while humans are not, if a dolphin wanted to attack humans in the water, the humans would have very little chance of survival. It would be all over the news.

What does happen, though, is that there are many accounts of dolphins saving humans. Dolphins have chased off sharks, circling humans, getting ready to attack. Dolphins have pushed floating humans towards the shore and, on some occasions, have even let drowning humans hang onto them to save themselves.

Dolphins are very intelligent creatures; some say they’re on par with humans. That makes it very unlikely that they would attack us.

Ornithology: Why do birds appear to twitch and move robotically instead of fluidly like humans?

Originally Answered: Why do birds appear to twitch and move robotically instead of fluidly like humans?

Many birds use rapid head movements to achieve or aid their depth perception.

That is often the case for birds with eyes on the sides of their heads rather than the front. The benefit of this arrangement is they have a wide field of view, which helps them recognize predators approaching from any direction. The drawback is that the overlap of their eyes’ field of view is small or non-existent.

Overlapping field of view provides many animals (including humans) with depth perception even when our heads are stationary and we’re observing static objects. Our brains can recognize the subtle differences between each eye’s images. Many birds that don’t have this overlap will tend to hold their heads stationary for a short period, then rapidly move to a new position. Comparing the images from before and after the move gives them depth perception – their brains integrate the ‘before’ and ‘after’ images, similar to how our brains integrate the images from the left and right eyes.

Note also that many birds can hold their head perfectly still even while their body and feet are moving. Sometimes, you can see this clearly when a bird lands on a flexible tree branch – the branch might bounce up and down, but the bird’s head is often perfectly stationary. You can also see this in close-up videos of birds in flight, especially long-necked birds like ducks and geese. Their wing beats cause their bodies to oscillate up and down, but their heads follow a perfectly straight line. This is, of course, the opposite of twitchy, but it still looks uncanny and artificial.

When the rapid head movements for depth perception are combined with uncanny head stabilization, the result is a very non-human pattern of motion.

And their very lightweight, as Sheri Fresonke Harper mentioned, also contributes to rapid, jerky motion. You might also say that we heavy animals move smoothly because it’s so easy for us. With more mass, it takes more energy to make abrupt, twitchy movements, so we tend to gradually accelerate and decelerate our limbs, resulting in graceful movements. But the movements of birds and even small mammals tend to be twitchy by comparison, simply because they can be. It takes relatively little energy to twitch from one position to another. So you’ll probably notice similarly twitchy movement in small mammals, such as squirrels and mice if you watch them for a while.

How can a dolphin be mean to other dolphins or people?

  • Sexual violence such that, if it happened between people, we would call it rape: young cow dolphin communicates in no uncertain terms that she does not want sex and is physically separated from her family and forced by several young bulls, sometimes being accidentally drowned in the process as they are indifferent to her wellbeing.
  • Physical aggression, including, again, something we’d call murder in humans.

Are wild bottlenose dolphins friendly?

Bottlenose dolphins are generally known for their friendly and sociable behavior, both in the wild and in captivity. However, it’s important to note that they are wild animals, and their behavior can vary based on a variety of factors.

In the wild, bottlenose dolphins are often curious and may approach boats or swimmers. They are known to display playful behaviors, such as riding the bow waves of boats and leaping out of the water. Interactions with humans can sometimes be positive, but it’s crucial to remember that they are wild animals and their behavior can be unpredictable.

While some wild dolphins may show curiosity and even interact playfully with humans, others may prefer to keep their distance. It’s essential to respect their natural behaviors and maintain a safe distance, as they are powerful animals and can become stressed or agitated if approached too closely.

In captivity, dolphins are sometimes trained to interact with humans in controlled environments, such as marine parks. However, opinions on the ethical implications of keeping dolphins in captivity vary, and there are concerns about the well-being of these animals in such settings.

Overall, while wild bottlenose dolphins are often observed exhibiting friendly and playful behaviors, it’s important for humans to approach them with caution and respect their natural behavior and habitat.

What is the dark truth about dolphins?

While dolphins are often regarded as intelligent and playful animals, there are certain aspects that some might consider less positive or even dark. It’s important to note that these aspects are part of the natural behaviors and characteristics of wild dolphins, and they don’t diminish the overall fascination and wonder associated with these marine mammals. Here are a few points to consider:

  1. Aggressive Behavior: While dolphins are generally known for their friendly interactions, they can also display aggressive behaviors. In the wild, male dolphins, in particular, can be territorial and may exhibit aggression towards each other or other species.
  2. Infanticide: In some cases, male dolphins have been observed engaging in infanticidal behavior, where they may kill the offspring of females. This behavior is believed to be a reproductive strategy to bring the female back into estrus more quickly.
  3. Interactions with Humans: In certain situations, wild dolphins may show aggressive behavior towards humans, especially if they feel threatened or provoked. There have been cases of dolphins injuring or even killing humans, although such incidents are rare.
  4. Captivity Concerns: The practice of keeping dolphins in captivity for entertainment purposes has raised ethical concerns. Some argue that confining these highly intelligent and social animals to small tanks can lead to stress, health issues, and a reduced quality of life.
  5. Environmental Impact: Human activities, such as pollution, overfishing, and habitat destruction, can negatively affect dolphin populations. Dolphins may face threats from entanglement in fishing gear, ingestion of plastic, and habitat degradation.

It’s essential to approach these points with a balanced perspective, understanding that these behaviors are part of the complex nature of wild animals. While dolphins are fascinating creatures, acknowledging both their positive and challenging aspects contributes to a more comprehensive understanding of their behavior and conservation needs.

Are bottlenose dolphins aggressive toward humans?

Bottlenose dolphins are generally not considered aggressive towards humans, and they are known for their friendly and playful interactions. In the wild, there are numerous accounts of dolphins approaching boats, surfers, and swimmers without displaying aggressive behavior. These interactions are often characterized by curiosity and playful antics, such as riding the bow waves of boats.

However, it’s important to note that dolphins are wild animals, and their behavior can be influenced by various factors, including their individual temperament, the presence of calves, and the context of the interaction. While most interactions are positive, there have been rare instances of dolphins exhibiting aggressive behavior towards humans.

In some cases, aggression may be a response to perceived threats or stress. Dolphins, like any wild animal, should be treated with respect and caution. Approaching wild dolphins too closely, especially in situations where they may feel cornered or threatened, can potentially lead to defensive behavior.

It’s crucial to follow guidelines and regulations regarding interactions with wild dolphins to ensure both human safety and the well-being of the animals. Responsible wildlife viewing practices promote coexistence without causing harm or disturbance to the animals. In captivity, where dolphins may be trained to interact with humans, their behavior can be more predictable, but ethical concerns regarding captivity persist.

Is it OK to swim with wild dolphins?

While swimming with wild dolphins can be a unique and exhilarating experience, it’s important to approach such encounters responsibly and ethically to ensure the well-being of both humans and dolphins. Here are some guidelines to consider:

  1. Respect Their Space: Keep a safe and respectful distance from the dolphins. Approaching them too closely or attempting to touch them can disrupt their natural behaviors, cause stress, and potentially lead to defensive or aggressive reactions.
  2. Do Not Feed Wild Dolphins: Feeding wild dolphins is discouraged as it can alter their natural behaviors, disrupt their diet, and create dependency on human food. Wild dolphins should remain self-sufficient in finding their food sources.
  3. Avoid chasing or cornering: Dolphins are naturally curious, and they may approach humans on their terms. However, avoid chasing or cornering them, as this can be stressful for the animals.
  4. Observe Local Regulations: Many areas have specific regulations regarding human-dolphin interactions. Be aware of and adhere to local guidelines and laws to ensure a positive and responsible experience.
  5. Do Not Disturb Calves: If there are dolphin calves present, it’s essential to maintain a respectful distance. Calves are vulnerable, and disturbing their natural behaviors can have negative consequences.
  6. Limit Interaction Duration: Keep the duration of the interaction brief. Prolonged interactions can lead to stress for the dolphins, so it’s best to allow them to continue their normal activities without protracted disturbance.
  7. Educate yourself: Learn about the behavior of the specific species of dolphins in the area you are visiting. Understanding their natural behaviors can help you interact in a way that minimizes impact.

It’s important to note that not all dolphins react the same way to human interactions, and some individuals or groups may be more tolerant than others. Always prioritize the welfare of the dolphins and the conservation of their natural behaviors. If you’re unsure about the guidelines or best practices in a specific area, consider seeking guidance from local authorities or marine conservation organizations.

Can you hug a dolphin?

While dolphins are known for their friendly and playful nature, it is generally not recommended to attempt to hug or touch wild dolphins. Interacting with wild dolphins should be approached with caution and respect for their natural behaviors. Here are some reasons why:

  1. Disturbance to Natural Behaviors: Approaching dolphins too closely or attempting physical contact can disrupt their natural behaviors. It may cause stress, alter their social interactions, and interfere with activities such as feeding, resting, or caring for their young.
  2. Safety Concerns: Dolphins are powerful and robust animals. In the wild, they may perceive close human contact as a threat or may react defensively. Attempting to hug a wild dolphin puts both humans and the dolphin at risk of injury.
  3. Risk of Disease Transmission: Wild animals can carry diseases that may be harmful to humans and vice versa. Physical contact increases the risk of disease transmission between species.
  4. Conservation and Ethical Considerations: Interacting with wild dolphins in a way that disrupts their natural behaviors may have negative consequences for their well-being and conservation. It’s essential to prioritize the ethical treatment of wildlife and contribute to their protection.

If you are interested in close encounters with dolphins, consider engaging in responsible and ethical dolphin-watching tours led by professionals. These tours are often conducted with the guidance of experts who know how to minimize disturbance to the animals and prioritize their well-being. In such controlled environments, interactions are regulated to ensure the safety of both humans and dolphins.

It’s crucial to be informed about local regulations and guidelines regarding interactions with dolphins and to prioritize the conservation of these remarkable marine animals. Always respect the wild nature of dolphins and prioritize their well-being over personal desires for close contact.

Why do dolphins look happy?

Dolphins are often perceived as looking happy due to specific facial features and behaviors that humans interpret as expressions of joy or friendliness. Some reasons why dolphins might appear to look satisfied include:

  1. Permanent Smile: Dolphins have a characteristic facial structure that gives the impression of a perpetual smile. The curvature of their mouths, combined with the positioning of their eyes, creates a facial expression that humans tend to associate with happiness.
  2. Playful Behavior: Dolphins are known for their playful nature. They frequently engage in activities such as leaping, surfing on waves, and playing with objects or each other. These active behaviors, along with their seemingly carefree movements, contribute to the perception that they are happy.
  3. Social Interactions: Dolphins are highly social animals that live in complex social structures. Their interactions with each other, including vocalizations, body language, and physical contact, are often interpreted by humans as expressions of happiness and camaraderie.
  4. Facial Expressiveness: Dolphins have a range of facial expressions that they use for communication within their social groups. These expressions can convey various emotions, and humans often interpret some of these expressions, such as open-mouth displays, as signs of joy.

It’s essential to note that while these characteristics contribute to the perception of happiness, interpreting animal emotions solely based on human standards can be anthropomorphic. Dolphins, like other animals, exhibit a range of emotions, and their behaviors can be influenced by various factors, including their environment, social interactions, and individual experiences.

It’s essential to appreciate and respect dolphins for the remarkable and intelligent beings they are while also recognizing that their behaviors and expressions are rooted in their natural context and not necessarily reflective of human emotions.

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