What Do Dolphins Eat

Learn about the diverse diet of dolphins, their hunting techniques, and feeding habits. Discover the types of dolphins and their favorite foods in this insightful article.


Dolphins are highly intelligent marine mammals known for their playful behavior and social interactions. One of the most interesting aspects of dolphins is their diet, as they are skilled hunters and have a diverse range of food preferences.

Types of Dolphins

There are over 40 different species of dolphins, each with its own unique feeding habits. Some common types of dolphins include the bottlenose dolphin, the killer whale, and the spinner dolphin.

General Diet

Dolphins are carnivorous animals, which means they primarily eat meat. Their diet consists of a variety of fish, squid, and crustaceans. Depending on the species, dolphins may also consume other marine animals such as octopus and shrimp.

Hunting Techniques

Dolphins are skilled hunters and use a combination of echolocation and teamwork to catch their prey. They often work together in groups to herd fish into tight balls, making it easier to catch them.

Examples of Dolphin Diet

  • Bottlenose dolphins: These dolphins mainly feed on small fish such as herring and mackerel.
  • Killer whales: Also known as orcas, killer whales are the largest species of dolphin and primarily feed on seals, sea lions, and other marine mammals.
  • Spinner dolphins: These dolphins feed on small fish and squid, often hunting at night.

Case Studies

Researchers have conducted studies on dolphins’ feeding habits to better understand their dietary needs and behavior. One study found that dolphins in captivity have different dietary requirements than those in the wild, requiring a carefully balanced diet to maintain their health.


According to the MarineBio Conservation Society, dolphins can consume up to 30 pounds of fish per day, depending on their size and activity level. This high intake of food is necessary to sustain their energy levels and maintain their body weight.


In conclusion, dolphins are fascinating creatures with a diverse diet and unique hunting techniques. By studying their feeding habits, researchers can gain valuable insights into their behavior and physiology. Understanding what dolphins eat is essential for their conservation and well-being in the wild.

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