How Do Dolphins Catch Their Prey?

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What Do Dolphins Eat?

  • There are variations based on the particular species of dolphin and location, but generally speaking dolphins eat small and mid-sized fish like anchovies, cod, herring, and mackerel. Squids are also popular dolphin prey. A 400-lb male dolphin will eat between 25 and 50 lbs of fish and squid per day.

Herding

  • The most common method of hunting among dolphins is called herding. Dolphins travel in social groups called pods. Working as a team, the dolphins will herd a school of fish together, and then dive in among them to snap up prey.

Other Methods of Feeding

  • Some species of dolphins have developed specialized methods for hunting. Whacking involves striking a larger prey with the tail. Some use loud, sonic click noises to stun prey. Finally, there are dolphins that push sponges along shallow sea bottom areas to scoop up small things to eat.

Spinner Dolphins

  • The greatest divergence from the most common dolphin hunting technique (herding) is that of the Spinner Dolphin. They are nocturnal, waiting for other nocturnal creatures to return from the dark depths at night. Separating into small groups (instead of the large pod). They scan for rising prey from above using sonar, and then dive down to attack.

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