Are dolphins ever dangerous?

Dolphins generally want to be left alone to get on with their lives. Occasionally dolphins will help humans in trouble in a completely selfless way.

 

On the rare occasions that dolphins display any sort of threatening or dangerous behaviour, it is generally because humans are unwelcome intruders into their lives and ignore the warning signals that dolphins give us.

 

If a dolphin wants to be left alone, she will generally slap her tail on the surface of the water or will swim away. Humans in the water should take notice of these warning signals and keep clear.

 

A few dolphins, used to being fed by humans, may become over-familiar. The Irish Whale and Dolphin group report a campaign to warn locals and visitors alike of the potential dangers of swimming with Dusty, a dolphin who has no fear of humans and who may be unpredictable. The Guardian also reports Dusty butting a woman called Valerie Ryan in an aggressive manner.

 

Dusty's behaviour may be caused by her spending too much time with humans, and not enough with her own kind. Dolphins, like humans, can have behavorial problems too.

 

Volunteers from the New Quay-based Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre in Wales have observed dolphin attacks on porpoises in Cardigan Bay. Such attacks are thought to be rare. 

 

Though these incidents are very unusual, we should never forget that dolphins are wild creatures that need to be treated with respect.