Do Dolphins Kill Porpoises? The Truth Revealed

  • By: Alex
  • Date: July 29, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.

For years, scientists have been fascinated by reports of dolphins killing porpoises.

For years, scientists have been fascinated by reports of dolphins killing porpoises.

Dolphins do kill porpoises on occasion. These incidents typically involve a group of dolphins working together to drive a porpoise underwater, where it eventually drowns. While such attacks are relatively rare, they have been observed in the wild and in captivity.

Porpoises are small, fast-swimming mammals common in coastal waters around the world.

They are preyed upon by various predators, including dolphins, sharks, and large fish.

While dolphins occasionally kill porpoises, the primary predator of porpoises is sharks. Sharks can take down more oversized prey items than dolphins, so they make up most of the diet for most porpoise populations.

Why do Dolphins attack porpoises?

Why do Dolphins attack porpoises?

Though dolphins and porpoises are marine mammals, they are quite different creatures. Porpoises are generally found in colder waters, whereas dolphins inhabit warmer seas.

Despite their differences, however, the two species sometimes come into contact with each other, which is not always friendly.

In fact, several documented cases of dolphins attacking and killing porpoises have been reported.

There are a few possible explanations:

  • One possibility is that the dolphins simply try to eliminate a competitor for food. Porpoises and dolphins often eat similar fish, so by killing a porpoise, the dolphins may be able to increase their own chances of finding food.
  • Another possibility is that the dolphins may see the porpoises as a threat.

While the reasons for these attacks are not always clear, they offer a glimpse into the complex social behavior of dolphins.

Ultimately, they may be related to competition for food or territory.

Do dolphins pick on porpoises?

Yes, dolphins do pick on porpoises. Dolphins are more aggressive and have a higher social status in the pod than porpoises, so they often bully them.

Dolphins use their size and strength to dominate other animals in the pod, including porpoises.

Porpoises often bear the brunt of dolphin aggression, including being bitten, rammed, or thrown out of the water. Some dolphins even go as far as to kill porpoises.

While the reasons for dolphin aggression are not fully understood, some scientists believe it may be a way for dolphins to establish dominance within the pod.

Others believe that it may be a form of play. Whatever the reason, it’s clear that dolphins can be bullies.

What do dolphins eat, and how does this affect porpoises?

Why do Dolphins attack porpoises?

Dolphins are meat-eaters. Their diet consists mainly of fish, though they will also eat squid, crustaceans, and other small marine animals.

This diet helps to keep dolphins healthy and gives them the energy they need to swim long distances and perform complex acrobatic maneuvers.

Porpoises are carnivores and tend to eat smaller prey than dolphins. However, they have occasionally eaten squid, octopus, and even crustaceans.

The exact diet of a porpoise depends on the species and where they live.

For example, one species of porpoise known as the vaquita lives in the Gulf of California and feeds primarily on a type of fish called the anchovy.

While the diet of dolphins and porpoises overlap, there are also some significant differences.

This means that these two types of animals are not always in competition for food. In fact, in many cases, they may actually be working together to find food.

Dolphins and porpoises are both brilliant animals that have complex social structures. They are also apex predators, meaning they are at the top of the food chain and have few natural predators.

These similarities make them exciting creatures to study, and their unique behaviors offer insights into the workings of the animal kingdom.

Cool Facts: The vaquita is often called the “pandas of the sea.” Like pandas, vaquitas are shy and elusive creatures. They are also quite mysterious, and scientists still have much to learn about their eating habits. There are 7 different species of porpoises, and they can be found in all oceans of the world.

What are the dangers that dolphins pose to porpoises?

Harbour porpoise

Recent studies have shown that dolphins may pose a danger to porpoises. In some areas, dolphin populations have declined due to disease or hunting.

This has led to increased dolphin-porpoise interactions, which can sometimes be aggressive. 

Dolphins have been known to attack and kill porpoises for food or out of aggression. They also compete with each other for food and territory.

As a result, the decline in dolphin populations can indirectly lead to a deterioration in porpoise populations.

The impact of these killings can be significant. The deaths of porpoises can disrupt the food chain and lead to a decline in the population of other marine animals.

In recent years, there has been an increase in dolphin-porpoise hybrids. These animals are born when a dolphin mates with a porpoise.

While hybrids are not necessarily harmful, they can cause problems for both species.

For example, combinations may have difficulty finding mates, as they are often rejected by both dolphins and porpoises.

Additionally, they may compete with both species for food and resources. As a result, the increase in hybrids may contribute to the decline of both dolphins and porpoises.

Do Dolphins Eat porpoises?

As you may notice, there are no porpoises on the dolphin’s menu. Dolphins do not eat porpoises.

In a recent post, we talked about some studies that show that dolphins can kill just for fun. However, these studies also showed that dolphins typically don’t eat some of their victims.

So, why kill if you’re not going to eat?

  • One theory is that they do it to eliminate competition. Removing potential mates increases their chances of passing on their genes.
  • Another possibility is that they simply enjoy the process of killing.

Whatever the reason, it’s clear that dolphins aren’t above a bit of murder now and then.

Porpoises vs. Dolphins

The battle of the dolphins has been waged for years, with no clear winner.

So, let’s take a closer look at these two ocean-dwelling mammals to see who would come out on top in a fight.

First, let’s start with size. 

An average dolphin can measure between 12 to 18 feet and weigh between 2,200 and 6.6 pounds. In contrast, an average porpoise is slightly smaller, typically reaching 5 to 6.6 feet in length and weighing between 110 and 265 pounds.

So, right off the bat, we can see that dolphins have a significant size advantage.

But what about speed? 

Dolphins are fast swimmers, clocking in at around 10 miles per hour. Conversely, porpoises are even faster, reaching speeds of up to 30 miles per hour. So, when it comes to speed, porpoises have the upper hand.

In terms of intelligence 

Both dolphins and porpoises are intelligent creatures. But studies have shown that dolphins may be just slightly brighter than porpoises.

When it comes to fighting ability

Dolphins have two primary weapons: their teeth and their tail. Dolphins have sharp teeth that they can use to bite their opponents, and their tails can be used as a club to strike blows.

Porpoises, on the other hand, don’t have any real weapons to speak of. So, regarding fighting ability, dolphins definitely have the advantage.

So, who would win a fight between a dolphin and a porpoise? It’s hard to say for sure. But based on the facts, it seems like the dolphin would come out on top.