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Are Sharks Really Afraid of Dolphins?

During our private boat charters, we often see dolphins in the Clearwater Beach area. Our guests love seeing these cute, friendly animals. But inevitably, the real question on everyone’s minds comes up. Are there any sharks in the water? Yes, the question may sound silly. After all, sharks live in the ocean. So, it’s inevitable they will be present at some point. But, I think the real question is, if you see dolphins, are there any sharks nearby? Are sharks afraid of dolphins?


I love this question as it makes me wonder how animals behave and interact in our oceans. Thankfully, there is a lot of data about sharks and dolphins that can help answer our questions. Let’s focus on the “fear” question for this blog post. Do sharks fear dolphins? I think, in order to answer this question, we have to dig into the research.

Sharks Avoid Dolphins

One thing is for sure, there is evidence to suggest that sharks avoid dolphins. Dolphins swim in pods. They are very curious, intelligent creatures. And, when they encounter a shark, they have been known to swarm around it. Sharks are often forced to leave an area as a result. Here is a video showing one such example. In this video, it’s not clear that the shark is afraid of the dolphins. But, it’s absolutely obvious that the dolphins are swarming the shark. If sharks can feel, I would imagine this would be intimidating.

Dolphins Have Protected People From Sharks

There have been many reports as well as videos of dolphins seemingly protecting people in peril. While it’s impossible to know their actual motives, dolphins have even chased off sharks during an attack. People have reported being “rescued” by dolphins in some fashion. And, it’s hard to argue against this when you consider how smart dolphins are. It’s a likely more complex than what we understand, but dolphins seems to know we are fellow mammals.

Are Sharks Afraid of Dolphins?

Fear is likely the wrong word to associate with shark-dolphin interactions. It’s likely there is some sort of complexity that occurs when these two species make an encounter. Dolphins definitely seem to be the more active, aggressive, or even dominant of the two species when they are in close proximity. A pod of dolphins will swarm around a shark, maybe forcing the shark to leave an area. Or, perhaps, the shark is very interesting to the dolphins.

Sharks, on the other hand, seem to swim alone. They aren’t nearly as social as dolphins. This may be part of why sharks avoid dolphins. Strength in numbers! But, it’s hard to say it’s based on fear. One thing is for sure, a pod of dolphins are not afraid of a shark.

See Dolphins On A Boat Tour

Our private boat charter is a good place to spot dolphins. Come join us on one of our boat tours designed to get you up close with these wonderful creatures. While it’s very unlikely you’ll see a shark, it’s very likely you’ll see some dolphins. So, come join us.