Do Dolphins Bully Pufferfish? The Dark Side of Dolphins

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Do dolphins bully pufferfish

Dolphins always stun our imagination with their amazing playful behavior, charming intelligence and nice social bond. However, there is a dark side of dolphin behind their good behavior.

This is “bullying”. It unnoticed about their bullying with different fishes and with own creatures. The most burning question has come recently “do dolphins bully pufferfish.”

In this article, we will discuss do they really bully pufferfish, if yes, why and how they do it. Moreover, we will discuss relationship between dolphins and pufferfish.

Do Dolphins Bully Pufferfish?

There is no definitive answer to the question of whether dolphins bully pufferfish. Some anecdotal evidence suggests that dolphins may sometimes engage in behaviors that could be considered bullying, such as chasing or herding pufferfish.

However, it is important to note that dolphins are complex and intelligent animals, and their motivations for engaging in such behaviors are not always clear.

Some experts have suggested that dolphins may bully pufferfish out of curiosity or playfulness. Others believe it may be a way for dolphins to establish dominance or assert their social hierarchy. Still, others believe it may be a form of predatory or playful aggression.

The truth is, we don’t know for sure why dolphins might bully pufferfish. More research is needed to understand the motivations of dolphin behavior and the impact their interactions with pufferfish have on both species.

It is important to note that “bullying” is typically used to describe aggressive behavior intended to cause harm or distress to the victim. It needs to be clarified whether dolphins understand the concept of bullying like humans do. Therefore, dolphins may engage in behaviors considered bullying without actually intending to cause harm.

Ultimately, whether or not dolphins bully pufferfish is a complex question that cannot be definitively answered without more research.

Do Dolphins Bully Each Other?

Yes, dolphins can bully each other. Bullying is a relatively common behavior among dolphins, especially among juveniles.

Dolphins Bully Each Other

There are several reasons why dolphins might bully each other. Some of the most common reasons include:

Competition for resources: Dolphins compete for food, mates, and access to other important resources. Bullying can be a way for dolphins to gain an advantage over their competitors.

Social hierarchy: Dolphins live in complex social groups with a well-defined hierarchy. Bullying can be a way for dolphins to establish or maintain their social status.

Play: Bullying can also be a form of play among dolphins. Like human children, dolphin juveniles may engage in rough play that can sometimes cross the line into bullying.

Aggression: In some cases, bullying may be a sign of aggression. This can be due to several factors, such as stress, boredom, or injury.

Do Dolphins Bully Other Animals?

Yes, they do! Dolphins can exhibit bullying behavior towards other animals, including:

Harassing and killing porpoises: Dolphins have been observed harassing and even killing porpoises. Dead porpoises stranded with dentition marks in their flesh, massive hemorrhages, and mushed-up internal organs indicate that dolphins were involved in their deaths.

Attempting to mate with other species: Dolphins will attempt to mate with various animals, including other species. They engage in group mating with each other and other animals when they can, whether the animals are dead or alive.

Bullying a stranded dolphin: In a case in Virginia, a dolphin previously bullied by other dolphins became stuck in a creek. This incident highlights the aggressive nature of dolphins towards each other and potentially towards other species.

However, it’s important to note that not all dolphin behavior is aggressive or harmful. Dolphins are highly intelligent and social creatures, capable of forming complex relationships and exhibiting empathy towards each other.

Do Dolphins Bully Sharks?

Dolphins exhibit aggressive behavior towards sharks, which can be considered bullying. Some reasons why dolphins can intimidate and even harm sharks include:

Physical advantages: Dolphins have strong snouts that can be used as biological battering rams. They will position themselves several yards under a shark and burst upwards, using their snouts to strike the shark’s soft underbelly or gills1.

Additionally, a dolphin’s vertically oriented rear fin and flexibility provide it with heightened mobility, giving it an advantage in maneuvering compared to sharks.

Safety in numbers: Dolphins often travel in pods, which can consist of several individuals. This group dynamic allows them to defend one another from a shark’s attack by chasing and ramming it.

Sharks may be hesitant to engage with a pod of dolphins due to the risk of being overwhelmed by their combined efforts.

Aggressive behavior: While dolphins are generally viewed as friendly and playful, they can also exhibit aggressive behavior when necessary.

This includes targeting sharks in a one-on-one fight or as a group, using their physical advantages to their benefit.

Predatory nature: Dolphins are capable of bullying sharks and other animals. They have been observed harassing and even killing porpoises, indicating their aggressive nature towards other species.

See Also: What Do Sharks And Dolphins Have In Common?

Do Dolphins Bully Fish?

Yes. Dolphins can exhibit bullying behavior towards fish, as they are known to play with their food and engage in unnecessary torture. Some instances of dolphins bullying fish include:

Playing with pufferfish: Dolphins have been observed bullying pufferfish by puffing them up and using them as balls to play with. This behavior is considered a major dick move in fish culture.

Corralling fish to their deaths: Dolphins in Georgia and South Carolina have been seen herding fish out of the water and onto the shore, causing their deaths instead of simply eating them.

This behavior can be seen as bullying towards the fish, as the dolphins are not consuming them for sustenance but rather for their amusement or satisfaction.

See Also: Do Dolphins Eat Jellyfish? Dolphin Dining Habits Unveiled

Do Dolphins Bully Porpoises?

Yes. Dolphins can exhibit bullying behavior towards porpoises, as they have been observed attacking and even killing them. Some instances of dolphins bullying porpoises include:

Killing porpoises in Cardigan Bay: In Cardigan Bay, researchers discovered that dolphins were involved in the deaths of porpoises. Dead porpoises stranded with dentition marks in their flesh, massive hemorrhages, and mushed-up internal organs indicated that dolphins were responsible for their deaths.

Attacking porpoises in the Baltic Sea: A solitary male bottlenose dolphin was found to have killed six harbor porpoises in the Baltic Sea in 2016. This was the first record of lethal interactions between a bottlenose dolphin and harbor porpoises in the German Baltic Sea.

Flipping porpoises into the air: In a rare and deadly attack witnessed by gig rowers in Newlyn Harbour, a bottlenose dolphin was pictured flipping a porpoise into the air. Dolphin attacks on porpoises accounted for about one death per year on average, and the reasons for these attacks are still unclear.

How Are Dolphins Bullies?

How Are Dolphins Bullies?

Dolphins can be considered bullies due to their aggressive and sometimes harmful behavior towards other animals. Here are some ways in which dolphins exhibit bullying behavior:

Kidnapping and mating: Male dolphins may form alliances and select a female dolphin to kidnap from another pod. They will attack and separate her from the group, taking turns mating with her and only allowing her to leave after they have finished. If the female dolphin resists, they can bite and smack her, leading to observed wounds on dolphins.

Infanticide: Male dolphins are known to kill off babies, and this behavior may occur because females become immediately ready for pregnancy after the death of an infant.

In one study, five juvenile bottlenose dolphins had fatal injuries consistent with a bottlenose dolphin attack.

Gang rape: Male dolphins get engaged themselves in mating with female dolphins forcefully. They do it by isolating a female from their pod.

Aggression towards other dolphins: Aggression between dolphins are common which cause harm such as superficial laceration, damaging teeth etc.

Bullying porpoises: Dolphins have been observed bullying and even killing porpoises.

In Cardigan Bay, researchers discovered that dolphins were involved in the deaths of porpoises, with the porpoises suffering massive hemorrhages and their internal organs being mushed up from the attacks5.

Dolphins may also exhibit avoidance behavior towards porpoises, with porpoises moving nearer to the coast at night when dolphins travel out.

Playing with their food: Dolphins have been observed bullying pufferfish by puffing them up and using them as balls to play with.

This behavior can be seen as bullying towards the fish, as the dolphins are not consuming them for sustenance but rather for their amusement or satisfaction.

Why Are Dolphins Bullies?

Dolphins’ bullying behavior can be attributed to various factors, including their intelligence, social structure, and competition for resources. Here are some possible explanations for why dolphins can be considered bullies:

Intelligence and capacity for evil: Dolphins are highly intelligent creatures with evolved brains. Just as humans have the capacity for both good and evil, dolphins also have a significant capacity for aggressive and harmful behavior.

Mating strategies: Male dolphins may form alliances and select a female dolphin to kidnap from another pod for mating purposes. This aggressive behavior towards females, including biting and smacking, can be seen as bullying.

Misdirected sexual aggression: It quite odd that dolphins show sexual aggression towards female dolphins doing gang rape, forceful sex and getting violent. This behavior is another means of bullying.

Competition for resources: Dolphins may exhibit aggression towards each other, such as raking, which involves scratching one another with their teeth.

This behavior can result from competition for food, territory, or social status and can be seen as bullying within their species.

Confusion with other species: In some cases, dolphins may exhibit aggressive behavior towards other animals, such as porpoises, due to confusion between the two species.

This confusion can lead to violent interactions, considered a form of bullying.

Playful nature: Dolphins are known for their playful behavior, but this can sometimes take a more aggressive and harmful form, such as when they play with their food, like pufferfish, or engage in unnecessary torture of other animals.

This behavior can be seen as bullying, as the dolphins are not consuming the fish for sustenance but for their amusement or satisfaction.

Do Dolphins Mess With Pufferfish?

Yes, dolphins mess with pufferfish, but it needs to be clarified why. Some scientists believe that dolphins may be curious about pufferfish or that they may enjoy playing with them.

Others believe that dolphins may be trying to get a high from the pufferfish’s toxins.

In a 2013 BBC documentary called Spy in the Pod, dolphins were filmed gently passing around a pufferfish and chewing on it. The dolphins appeared to be in a trance-like state after chewing on the pufferfish.

Pufferfish contain tetrodotoxin, a powerful neurotoxin that can be fatal to humans and other animals. However, it is possible that dolphins have evolved a tolerance to tetrodotoxin or can consume small amounts of the toxin without experiencing any ill effects.

Do Dolphins Play With Pufferfish?

Yes, they do play with pufferfish. Dolphins are known to exhibit a curious and playful demeanor when it comes to interactions with pufferfish.

Dolphins Play Catch with a Pufferfish

They have been observed engaging in chase games, swimming alongside the pufferfish as if participating in an underwater dance. These playful antics suggest that dolphins find joy in interacting with these unique creatures and view them as potential playmates rather than targets of aggression.

Do Dolphins Like Pufferfish?

While it is difficult to ascertain the exact emotions a dolphin experiences, their interactions with pufferfish often indicate a sense of enjoyment and intrigue.

Dolphins’ playful tendencies and the gentle manner in which they interact with pufferfish imply a certain level of affection or fascination.

However, it is important to remember that wild animals’ motivations and emotions may differ from our human understanding.

Do Dolphins Kill Pufferfish?

Contrary to what one might assume, dolphins do not typically kill pufferfish during playful encounters.

Do Dolphins Kill Pufferfish?

Instead, they seem to understand the delicacy of the pufferfish’s physiology and exercise caution to prevent any harm.

Dolphins generally possess the intelligence and intuition to discern the potential dangers their actions might pose to these inflated creatures.

Do Dolphins Eat Pufferfish?

No, they do not eat pufferfish. While dolphins are known to be opportunistic feeders and consume a wide variety of fish species, pufferfish are not commonly found on their menu.

Dolphins tend to favor easier catch fish and require less effort to consume.

Therefore, pufferfish are more likely to be spared by dolphins, allowing their playful interactions to continue harmoniously.

Do Dolphins Chew On Pufferfish?

Dolphins don’t chew on pufferfish. Dolphins do not typically behave aggressively towards pufferfish, such as chewing or biting.

Instead, their interactions are characterized by gentle nuzzling or nudging.

Dolphins possess a skill and understanding of underwater dynamics that allows them to interact with the pufferfish without causing harm.

See Also: What Type of Fish Do Dolphins Eat? From Mackerel to Herring

What Do Dolphins Do To Pufferfish?

When engaging with pufferfish, dolphins often elicit fascinating responses from these inflatable creatures.

Pufferfish have been observed inflating their bodies, which could be an instinctive reaction to perceived threats or defense mechanisms.

Dolphins’ interactions might trigger the pufferfish’s unique ability to inflate, offering a visually captivating spectacle in the ocean depths.

Why Do Dolphins Inflate Pufferfish?

The exact reason behind dolphins inflating pufferfish to inflate remains uncertain.

However, it is believed that they could be testing the limits of the pufferfish’s natural defenses or simply enjoying the fascinating spectacle.

Dolphins are known for their inquisitive nature, and this behavior could be a manifestation of their innate curiosity towards the pufferfish’s defensive mechanisms.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do Dolphins Bully Other Marine Creatures?

Dolphins can display assertiveness towards smaller or less agile marine animals but are more inclined to engage in playful interactions rather than bullying.

Are Dolphins Aggressive Towards Sharks?

Dolphins mainly exhibit defensive behavior when encountering sharks, employing strategic thinking and teamwork to protect themselves and their pod members.

Do Dolphins Harm Pufferfish During Play?

No, dolphins tend to exercise caution and avoid causing harm to pufferfish during their playful interactions.


In recent year, scientists and nature enthusiasts are engaging themselves unfolding many secrets of ocean.

Dolphins’ aggressive behaviors and dark sides are same type of secrets.

Dolphins do some weird interaction with pufferfish such as chasing, herding and some harmful activity which has been termed as bullying.

However, their playful nature still makes us happy.

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