Do Dolphins Eat Seals? (Answered)

Dolphins are popular marine mammals well-known for their carnivorous characteristics. These mammals are heavy feeders who eat 15-30 pounds of food each day. This makes them prey on other marine animals and various types of fish, but do they eat seals?

This may be hard to know, but this post is a detailed guide to dolphins eating seals and other related questions. Read on!


Do Dolphins Eat Seals?

Yes, dolphins eat seals but on special occasions. These marine mammals prefer eating squid and smaller fish. The most common fish species that dolphins prey on include codfish, mackerel, herring, whales, sharks, and baby dolphins. 

No individual dolphin species mainly feed on seals as part of its diet. However, there are unique exceptions, but it is possible in rare cases. A dolphin attacks and feeds on a seal under unusual circumstances.

Also, dolphins are fierce and dangerous creatures that sometimes kill for their sake. This means that they kill even when they are not aiming to prey.

Additionally, all dolphins are not large enough to eat giant marine creatures like seals. Small dolphins mainly prey on crustaceans and squid. Dolphins’ food selection primarily depends on various factors such as their species and the availability of different species to prey on, i.e., the habitat where the dolphin lives affect its food habit and lifestyle.

Do Seals Eat Dolphins?

No, dolphins and seals get along well. However, this happens when they are raised together from a young age. Additionally, they require proper professional training to get along well.

Seals are pretty friendly to dolphins, but dolphins behave hostile toward seals. Nonetheless, these two marine creatures compete for other fish that seem very unfamiliar. Thus, they initiate disputes when competing for food.

Do Bottlenose Dolphins Eat Seals?

No, bottlenose dolphins don’t eat seals, but they like eating crustaceans such as octopuses and fish such as herring, salmon, and cod. You will mostly find bottlenose dolphins in temperate and tropical oceans. Thus, the fish they feed on primarily depends on local weather and environmental conditions.

For instance, during summer, bottlenose dolphins prefer preying on salmon, but during winter, they aim at herring and mackerel since salmon are much scarce. The most common fish varieties that dolphins in tropical regions prefer eating include catfish, mullet, and mackerel.

Do Dolphins Eat Baby Seals?

Yes, dolphins eat baby seals depending on their local climate, environment, and the availability of different food options. Generally, some specific dolphin species are random feeders and will eat anything available. The fact is that most dolphin species (mainly smaller ones) prefer squid, fishes, octopuses, and other crustaceans to baby seals.

Baby seals are mainly preyed on by various sea creatures, including sharks, penguins, whales, dolphins, and sea otters. When an adult dolphin is hungry, it preys on multiple animals, including sea turtles, sea lions, and other dolphins and whales. Also, other dolphins feed on their young ones.

Do Seals Get along with Dolphins?

Dolphins and seals get along and have a long history of the same. However, this mainly happens when they are raised together from a young age with proper training. Bearing that in mind, most dolphins are relatively hostile toward seals and are well-known to prey on them.

Dolphins and seals also compete for fish that have an unfriendly friendship with them. Therefore, they are less likely to get along, and rare exceptions exist. Dolphins are relatively hostile toward seals and may even prey on them in some situations.

You should bear in mind that dolphins and seals compete for other fish that are less friendly to them. Thus, they will get along poorly, and some exceptions exist.

What Do Dolphins like to Eat?

Dolphins are great predators that feed on various fishes, such as squids and crustaceans. The preferable food for dolphins primarily depends on their geographical location. Nonetheless, dolphins show a preference for specific fish food species.

For instance, coastal dolphins prefer eating other fish and invertebrates living at the bottom of the sea. Similarly, offshore dolphins prefer eating squid and fish.

Other offshore dolphins feed on deep-sea fish. This suggests offshore dolphins can dive more than 500 m below the sea.

What Other Animals Eat Seals?

In addition to humans, leopard seals, sharks, humans, killer whales, arctic wolves, and polar bears are the main seal predators. Killer whales are the main natural predators of seals. They are large-sized and mainly attack seals by hunting them in the water.

Polar bears are among the most dangerous aquatic animal species in the arctic and have incredible appetites. They are relatively strong and can kill adult seals using one swipe of their paws.

Arctic wolves are also a significant threat to seals. Like polar bears, they rely on seals to thrive in their habitat since seals are an essential part of their diet. Arctic wolves are fantastic, patient animals that stalk seals before getting an opportunity to attack them.

Lastly, other seals (mainly the leopard seal and gray seal) are well-known for fighting, killing, and eating other seal species. The leopard seal is highly vicious and mostly eats the Weddell seal, the crabeater seal, and the antarctic seal.

What is a Dolphin’s Biggest Predator?

Dolphins are apex predators, implying that few aquatic creatures are preying on them. These creatures are quick, agile, and have a brain capacity of 40% higher than humans, making them intelligent and more aggressive. Nonetheless, they have other more powerful natural predators, including bull, tiger, dusky, and great white sharks.

On special occasions, tiger whales’ prey on bottlenose dolphins, but there are few documented cases. Also, although stingrays are not the main dolphin predators, some dolphins have lost their lives due to infection, trauma, and poisoning from stingray wounds.

How Much Do Dolphins Eat?

The number of fish dolphins eat depends on the quantity they hunt. For example, herring and mackerels are rich in fat, whereas squid lack fat. Thus, dolphins must eat plenty of squids to cope with their appetite and supply energy for their busy lifestyles.

Averagely, a dolphin weighing 400 to 500 pounds eats 25 to 50 pounds of fish daily. Therefore, the number of fish, a dolphin will eat primarily depends on its body weight and the amount it will catch.

How Do Dolphins Hunt for Seals?

Dolphins’ main methods to hunt seals include stunning, herding, eco-localization, and corralling. Each of these methods is unique of its kind. For instance, when stunning, a dolphin will hit the seal on its tail to confuse it and make it easy to catch.

Similarly, when herding, a dolphin pod surrounds a group of seals as much as possible and takes turns attacking the group. Corralling involves dolphins moving the prey seals to shallow water where they cannot easily escape. On the other hand, eco-localization involves dolphins emitting sound waves that are reflected and pinpointed to the exact location of the fish.

Wrapping Up

Dolphins eat seals but on special occasions. These marine mammals are fond of eating squid and small-sized fish. Generally, dolphins’ preferred fish diet depends on their geographical location, environment, and available fish species.

Dolphins mostly like preying on codfish, baby dolphins, whales, mackerel, and sharks. Conclusively, dolphins eat seals, but on rare occasions— dolphins will eat seals when they don’t have any other fish to prey on.

Disclaimer: This blog should not be considered as being professional pet medical advice. The content published on this blog is for informational purposes only. Please always consult with a licensed and local veterinarian for medical advice.

About Shaun Clarke

Shaun is passionate about pets and animals, especially dogs, cats, and rabbits. He owns a dog and a couple of cats too. He loves visiting wildlife sanctuaries and shares a strong bond with animals. When he is not writing, he loves to do a barbecue in the backyard with his family and friends.