The Basics of Dolphin Diets

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Dolphins are among the most well-known oceanic creatures on Earth. They are renowned for their overall intelligence and playful demeanor. But have you ever wondered about dolphin diets and the foods that they eat? Here at Harbor Breeze Cruises, we see plenty of dolphins on nearly every charter, and on special occasions, we get to see dolphins feeding. That means that we are familiar with dolphin diets. Overall, dolphin diets can depend on their geographical location. Dolphins live in a wide variety of habitats such as freshwater rivers, coastal water, open ocean, and estuaries. This means that the foods that dolphins eat can vary greatly based on their habitat. Harbor Breeze is here to provide you with dolphin diet facts so that you can become an expert on what dolphins eat! 

Dolphin Food Sources

  • Fish

It should come as no surprise that fish is one of, if not the primary food source for dolphins. Regardless of the habitat of dolphins, fish are among the staples of the dolphin diet, including the common dolphin’s diet. While fish is a common denominator among various dolphin species’ diet, the types of fish that dolphins eat often depend on their habitat. For dolphins that live in cooler waters, salmon is a common dolphin diet staple in the warmer months. When the waters cool down, mackerel and herring become a large part of their diet. Coastal dolphins indulge in common coastal fish such as saltwater catfish, mullet, and mackerel. Freshwater dolphins are obviously partial to freshwater fish and are known to eat several dozen species of fish.

  • Cephalopods

While the term cephalopod may be unfamiliar, you have definitely heard of these creatures. The cephalopod class includes well-known oceanic creatures such as squid and octopus. Squid and octopus are another dolphin diet centerpiece. Squid, in particular, are included in the common dolphin’s diet. Cephalopods are most common in deeper waters and, thus, are a favorite of dolphins that reside in deeper, open ocean waters.

  • Crustaceans

Humans and dolphins alike have crustaceans in their diets. Specifically, dolphins are well-known to eat shrimp and crab. Shrimp, crab, and other crustaceans are common elements of dolphin diets from various habitats. This is primarily due to the fact that dolphins are opportunistic hunters, meaning they eat what is around them, and crustaceans are common in freshwater as well as coastal and deep saltwater.

  • Jellyfish

Jellyfish are another dolphin diet staple. So far, most of the foods that dolphins consume have been fairly similar to that of humans, but jellyfish are where their diets diverge. Jellyfish are a particular favorite to dolphins that inhabit deeper waters, meaning that jellyfish are often eaten as a part of common dolphin diets. 

Additional Dolphin Diet Facts

In addition to the foods that dolphins consume as a part of their everyday diets. There are also two particularly interesting dolphin diet facts. The first is that dolphins do not actually chew their food. Instead, they swallow their food whole. They merely grab food with their teeth, bite off a chunk, and then swallow the entire piece! The second is that dolphins do not actually have to drink water. All of the necessary water for dolphins actually comes from their food.

Book a Whale Watching Cruise Today

Now that you’ve learned about dolphin diets, your interest in getting out on the water and seeing some dolphins for yourself has probably peaked. Well, if you’re in the Los Angeles / Long Beach area or planning to visit soon, Harbor Breeze Yacht Charters and Cruises is the perfect opportunity for you. As a top Los Angeles whale-watching operator, our whale-watching cruises take families out to sea on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, searching for the ocean’s most beautiful creatures – whales, dolphins, and sea lions included! For more information regarding times, prices, and more, please visit us online. We can’t wait to see you on board – book a cruise today!


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