Do Whales Eat Dolphins: Facts Around Various Types Of Whale


Whales are the largest living species on the planet. So, there’s a chance they could consume practically any other creature if they wanted to. Thus, it would be fascinating to note if they eat dolphins.

Whales do not eat dolphins except for the exception of killer whales. Whales mostly prefer to eat much smaller marine creatures, although toothed whales consume larger fishes and even seals in some cases.

The fact that most whales do not eat huge prey is fascinating. Baleen whales, larger than other whales, rely on the school of krill and plankton for food. Baleen whales lack the teeth needed to pursue and capture larger prey, whereas toothed whales prefer to eat medium-sized prey since it is more energy-efficient.

Do Whales Eat Dolphins
Image Credit: Beluga premier by Premier.gov.ru (CC BY 4.0) from Wikimedia
Image Credit: Dolphins from Pxhere

The size of a whale’s meal is directly proportional to its size, the size of its mouth, habitat, ecology, and how they interact with its surroundings. As a result, it would be fascinating to investigate whether dolphins may serve as a food source for various whale species.

To learn more intriguing facts about the issue, read this post all the way to the end.

Do humpback whales eat dolphins?

The baleen family includes humpback whales. These whales are incredibly fascinating, and their dietary habits are causing new headlines. So let us see if these gentle giants have a preference for dolphins.

Humpback whales, despite their musicality and grace, do not consume dolphins. Instead, plankton, microscopic crustaceans, and other small schooling fish are the primary dietary sources for these whales. They have a large mouth that allows them to swallow down large mouthfuls of prey and seawater at once.

On the other hand, these skilled melodists have made new headlines for eating up birds and even sea lions by accident. However, there has been no word on dolphins being eaten as an unintentional dinner by these gentle giants.

Do killer whales eat dolphins?

Image Credit: Killer whales from Pxhere

Killer whales are not whales and do not act the same way as other whales. Instead, they have a more aggressive personality and behave in a different manner.

Killer whales are an exception, as they eat smaller dolphins despite being members of the dolphin family. Killer whales, in particular, have been discovered to prey on other dolphin species in transient pods. So, in other words, they eat their own kinds!

Although dolphins are orcas’ meals, they do not hunt them regularly. Also, dolphins are rather fast, and there are plenty of other food sources in the ocean, so it does not make it worth it for orcas to go behind them.

Another interesting fact is that some orcas species are the only predators of white-sided dolphins in the northern Pacific.

How do killer whales interact with dolphins?

Killer whales have a reputation for being vicious predators of larger marine creatures. They also go after dolphins. However, it would be fascinating to learn if killer whales communicate with dolphins on any level.

Orcas, or killer whales, have eerie melodies that consist of intricate whistles and snaps. According to new research, these apex predators have learned “dolphin talk,” or the ability to learn vocalizations from other species. As a result, when orcas communicate with bottlenose dolphins, their vocalizations shift to match their social partners.

Clicks and whistles were more common among killer whales interacting with bottlenose dolphins. One thing to keep in mind is that each orca pod speaks in its own tongue.

Scientists have discovered that killer whales have a high amount of neuronal plasticity, which indicates that their neural pathways can change to accommodate new knowledge. As a result, they can learn the language of their social partners.

Do false killer whales eat dolphins?

Image Credit: Pseudoorca Crassidens – False Killer Whale by Stefan Thiesen Buntrabe (CC BY 3.0) from Wikimedia

Playful and social, false killer whales are like other dolphins. They are recognized for their non-aggressive conduct with numerous dolphin species and are highly social. But do they consume other dolphins?

False killer whales feed on small dolphins other than fish and squid and marine mammals, including sperm whales. However, the reason why false killer whales consume other dolphins is unknown. Scientists are still unsure if the hunt is to feast on them or reduce food competition.

Despite feeding on smaller dolphins, false killer whales hang out with dolphin species like the common bottlenose dolphin, the Pacific white-sided dolphin, the rough-toothed dolphin, the pantropical spotted dolphin, and Risso’s dolphin.

Do blue whales eat dolphins?

Although blue whales are the largest whales, their principal prey is nearly tiny. Do these whales, on the other hand, ever eat dolphins?

Despite their size, these goliaths are docile and have not adapted to eat larger whale prey such as dolphins. Instead, the primary food sources for blue whales are krill and plankton. Furthermore, their baleen plates prevent them from hunting and capturing larger marine species. Rather, they function as filter feeders.

In this context, it’s important to understand that blue whales require a large amount of food on a daily basis to maintain their massive body weight. As a result, they benefit greatly from feeding on smaller prey, widely available throughout the oceans.

Do pilot whales eat dolphins?

Image Credit: Pilot whales by empokmaren from Pixbay

Pilot whales are actually dolphins, even though they are called whales. Pilot whales are toothed whales that eat a variety of foods. Do they, however, eat dolphins?

Pilot whales do not eat dolphins; instead, they eat squid, octopus, and various fish, particularly huge demersal fish such as cod and turbot.

Do beluga whales eat dolphins?

Beluga whales are among the ocean’s most noisy species. Also, beluga whales are linked to bottlenose dolphins and are one of the most unusual-looking mammals. Do they, on the other hand, consume dolphins?

Belugas are opportunistic feeders; therefore, their diet varies seasonally and regionally, but they never eat dolphins. Instead, the food of the beluga whale consists primarily of fatty Coho salmon, cod, smelt, herring, sculpin, and other fish.

Do fin whales eat dolphins?

Fin whales belong to the baleen family and are the second biggest mammals globally. These whales have baleens instead of teeth.

Fin whales do not feed on dolphins. Instead, they are filter feeders and primarily eat krill, small fish, and crustaceans.

Summary

So to wrap up, we can state that whales do not feed on dolphins, with the exception of killer whales and false killer whales. This is because whales are larger, but their primary food tends to be almost microscopic. One of the main reasons is that smaller prey is abundantly available across the ocean, and whales can eat tons of them to maintain their body weight and lifestyle.

Atrayee

I am Atrayee, I have extreme passion for the Animal Kingdom and I have written a large number of articles for animal behaviors. I am an Animal Lover by nature and own two Cats.
Exploring new things through learning and unlearning is something that intrigues me a lot. I spend my free time with my husband and two cats. I must say I get to learn a lot of wise things from them! You can catch me on LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/atrayee-samaddar-06886567/

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