Yes, dolphins can and have been known to kill sharks. As many know, dolphins and sharks inhabit the same regions and depths of the ocean. Sharks have a reputation for being fierce predators, and are armed with rows of sharp nasty teeth that help them bite through flesh and bone with ease. They also have very tough, sandpaper- like skin that is not easily punctured. Whereas dolphins are often viewed as the intelligent, playful, friendly mammals with only a single row of peg-like teeth used mainly for catching smaller fish. Their skin, unlike the sharks is soft and flexible and can be punctured easily. Dolphins surprisingly, have however often been seen protecting an injured or sick member of their group or extended family, often from a shark attack. They have also at times been known to protect humans from sharks in the water and in some cases have even been known to carry a human safely to shore.
At first glance, sharks and dolphins may seem to be similar in size and shape, though sharks obviously appear to be stronger for obvious reasons already mentioned. However, when taking a closer look there are many differences in the two that can be noted and give the dolphin quite an advantage. Sharks are an ancient fish with skeletons of cartilage, where dolphins are descended from mammals that have returned to the sea and sport skeletons with hard, calcified bones. The skeletons of sharks have joints that are not as flexible as the dolphins.
It is for this reason that dolphins sometimes have the upper hand and are much swifter than sharks. They have also been known to maneuver very quickly and are very agile in the water. The tail of a shark is also different from a dolphin. A shark’s tail has a fins located on a vertical plane that move from side to side which limits its ability to quickly dive downward and /or rise upward. A dolphin’s tail however has horizontally mounted flukes that move up and down and enable a dolphin to change direction with ease, allowing it to move upward or downward with no problem.
Since dolphins normally travel together in groups, if one of the group is threatened by a shark, the other dolphins will join in without hesitation to do its best to defend the dolphin that is in danger. The dolphin’s main weapon against a shark attack is its snout, which is made up of very strong and thick bone and has a hard rounded end. The dolphins circle the shark rapidly from different directions thus confusing the shark and rendering it unable to chase any of the other dolphins.
When a dolphin is positioned below a shark at a distance of several yards, the dolphin will often make a sudden rush at the shark’s soft underbelly and ram it with its snout. The effect this has on the shark can be quite effective. It resembles a powerful punch and can seriously injure a shark with just one blow. When dolphins use this as their weapon against sharks, it often renders the shark stunned or knocks them unconscious immediately. Sometimes a dolphin will repeatedly ram a shark that has been aggressive in order to protect itself or its group, and in some cases have even been known to kill large and dangerous sharks. In most cases, even if the shark does not die as a result of the dolphin driving its snout into its underbelly, the force that it has on the shark will often leave some kind of internal damage.