Do Dolphins Have Tear Ducts? From Ocean Wonders to Tearful Tales

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Last updated on November 4th, 2023 at 12:03 am

Do Dolphins Have Tear Ducts
Do Dolphins Have Tear Ducts?

I think dolphins are amazing! They are smart, playful creatures that do cool acrobatics underwater.

Even though scientists have studied them a lot, there’s still a lot we don’t know about their bodies.

Have you ever wondered if dolphins cry? I am here to talk about it.

In this blog, I’ll explore dolphin bodies and figure out do dolphins have tear ducts? Let’s learn together!

Do Dolphins Have Tear Ducts?

No, dolphins do not have tear ducts. Tear ducts are tubes that drain tears from the eyes into the nose. They are present in most land mammals, but not in aquatic mammals, such as dolphins.

This is because dolphins do not need to cry to remove irritants from their eyes.

Instead, they have a special gland that produces an oily substance that coats the eyes and protects them from the salt and other irritants in the water.

Dolphins’ eyes are also adapted to seeing underwater. They have a layer of tissue over the cornea that helps to focus light in water, and their pupils can dilate very widely to let in as much light as possible.

While dolphins do not have tear ducts, they can still produce tears. These tears are not emotional tears, but rather tears of lubrication and protection.

They are also used to flush out any irritants that may get into the eyes.

So, while dolphins may not be able to cry tears of sadness or joy, they still have a very effective system for keeping their eyes clean and healthy.

Do Dolphins Have Tear Ducts In Babies?

Likewise, there are no tear ducts in newborn dolphins. The baby dolphin is totally devoid of tear ducts.

Both adult and baby dolphins lack eye glands, although there is no need for them because the animals’ eyes never get in contact with dirt, dust, or any other impurity.

In contrast, they have a special gland which secretes oil to protect their eyes from salt and other irritating substances in the water.

Immediately after birth, dolphin babies see with their eyes open and can swim; therefore, it is very important that their eyes should be protected from sea water right upon birth.

This is achieved through secretion of an oily substance by the special gland.

The dolphin also has several other adaptations which assist in their sighting when under water.

For example, dolphins have a transparent tissue coating on the eye cornea which helps with the focusing light in the water medium while they are under water. Dolphins also have large pup.

Though dolphins do not possess tear ducts, they are capable of shedding tears. This is not emotional weeping but tear for lubrication and protection purposes.

It can be used for washing away any irritating particles that may have entered the eyes.

Therefore, though dolphin babies can’t cry tears of sorrow or happiness, they do possess an important mechanism to maintain hygienic and healthy eyes.

Do Dolphins Have Tear Ducts?

Do Dolphins Have Tear Ducts Compared To Humans?

Unlike humans, there are no tear ducts on Dolphin. Tear ducts are tubes that drain tear from eyes to nostrils, humans have them.

The tear duct has an important function of cleaning the eyes together with moisture at the same time it flushes out irritants.

The reason behind that is it has no tear ducts and so it does not need any.

Like dolphins that dwell in salted water, their eyes are permanently under the influence of salt and some other irritants.

Nevertheless, dolphins possess a unique gland secreting an oily layer that shields their eyes against such irritants.

However, the only difference with dolphin eyes is that they have a layer of tissue overlapping the cornea to aid in focusing in water.

This is a transparent layer of tissue that humans do not have in their eyes and, hence, makes it easier for dolphins to see under water than humans.

Lastly, dolphins’ pupils can expand considerably to allow maximum amount of light into their eyes.

The reason for that is because in the ocean it tends to get darker and specifically deeper.

While dolphin pupils can dilate very wide, human pupils can only dilate.

In summary, dolphin eye is remarkably distinct from human eye. The eyes of dolphins are adapted for life in water, whereas human eyes are well-adapted to terrestrial life.

How Do Tear Ducts Work?

The tears are produced and spread over by tear ducts on both sides of the nose which also drain excess tears into the neck area around the ears.

Tearing occurs for many purposes such as moistening the eyes or removing dirt and promoting development of corneas.

A delicately balanced tear gland and tear drainage though ducts that drains to the nose cavity controls tear production.

Dolphins have tear ducts that enhance eye moisture and cleansing to allow for comfortable underwater activities.

Salty tears help them to keep away the eye-drying effect of sea water they swim in.

Do Dolphins Have Tear Ducts?

Do Dolphins Cry Tears?

Although dolphins possess tear ducts, it is necessary to emphasize that they neither cry in the emotional sense as we do nor shed tears for their loved ones when they die as humans do.

Generally, when we speak of the dolphin’s tears it refers to either their eye cleaning mechanism or an issue with the environment.

Their tears protect their eyes from debris and keeps their eyes clear for good vision in the water.

See Also: How Do Dolphins Show Sadness? Behind the Smile

Do Sea Creatures Have Tear Ducts?

However, not all sea dwellers possess tear duct as dolphins do.

For examples, fish lack tear glands even though their eyes were designed for underwater conditions and they are not comparable with the tears of a land or semi-water animal.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do Dolphins Cry When They Are Sad?

Unlike humans, dolphins do not shed tears when suffering emotions. The tears that they do leak are more on a case-by-case basis in terms of their eye sight.

Do All Mammals Have Tear Ducts?

In fact, not all mammals have tear ducts. However, there exist such examples as camels for the most of the mammals.

Do Dolphins Have Tear Ducts Connected To Sinuses?

It is true that dolphins have tear ducts that are linked to sinuses, enabling them to shed tears for many purposes just like the humans and others.


I have shared my discussion on do dolphins have tear ducts? we have come to know that tear ducts are crucial for maintaining good eyesight and overall health.

It’s important to understand that when dolphins “cry,” it’s not due to emotions but a natural way to keep their eyes wet in their aquatic habitat.

Exploring these details helps both you and me appreciate the complexity of these amazing creatures and the incredible ways they’ve adapted over time in their marine world.

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