Beneath the Smiling Facade: Delving Into the Disturbing Behavior of Dolphins


May 23 2023, Published 5:07 p.m. ET

Two dolphins in the water
Source: Getty Images

Swimming with dolphins sounds like a magical experience many people dream of doing at least once in their lifetime. But, if you have the opportunity to get in the water with a dolphin, you should do so with caution. Dolphins aren’t as sweet as everybody thinks they are — in fact, some people even think dolphins are evil.

That's right: They're not always as innocent and playful as Flipper is in Disney movies.

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Are dolphins evil?

Dolphins are incredible animals, with so many positive qualities — and everyone knows it. So of course, dolphins are not all evil, per se — but they do have an evil side. Keep reading to learn why.

Woman swimming with a dolphin.
Source: Getty Images
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Dolphins are aggressively horny.

Dolphins are often called the “rapists of the sea,” primarily for their insatiable sex drive. If you swim with them, you might think they are just being really playful, but they probably have something different on their mind. Just ask actress Demi Moore, who had her own uncomfortable encounter with a dolphin on a family trip to Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat in Las Vegas, SFGate reports.

Dolphins are rapists.

Male bottlenose dolphins are known to gang up and rape female dolphins. A group of dolphins will “kidnap” a female dolphin and take turns aggressively raping her. The rape can go on for weeks, during which the males in the pod smack the female with their tails, threaten her with aggressive movements and noises, and even chase her down if she tries to swim away. Plus, a dolphin has a prehensile penis shaped like a hook, making it difficult for the female to separate during mating.

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Dolphins carry STDs.

It figures that a mammal as sexually active as a dolphin would be prone to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). According to a 2009 study in the Journal of Wildlife Diseases, bottlenose dolphins can get genital warts caused by the herpes virus.

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Dolphins are baby killers.

Male dolphins are so horny that they will murder their own babies so they can mate with the mother dolphin again. After a female dolphin gives birth, she spends her time caring for her baby, leaving little time for her to serve the sexual needs of the male dolphin. Without the baby in the way, the female is more available to mate. Male dolphins have also been known to kill baby harbor porpoises, mistaking them for baby dolphins.

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Dolphins think everything is a play toy.

The way dolphins will play with a beach ball is cute, but their playtime can turn ugly when they get tired of the ball and move on to tossing baby sharks around instead. In 2009, United Press International (UPI) reported staff at the Dolphin Research Center in Grassy Key, Florida, had to run to the rescue of some baby nurse sharks that the center’s dolphins were volleying back and forth.

Dolphins hunt in packs.

Dolphins hunt in packs, called pods, similar to the way wolf packs take down their prey. A dolphin pod will encircle its prey to trap and feed on them. They use echolocation to talk to each other and coordinate their attack. They also use their tail fins to flip their prey out of the water.

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Four dolphins in a pod.
Source: Getty Images

Dolphins hardly ever sleep.

It’s said there’s no rest for the wicked, and that’s true for the dolphin. Dolphins can go for up to five days without getting a little shut-eye. According to Whale & Dolphin Conservation USA, the dolphin can stay awake for days because their brain alternates on what half can sleep while the other remains awake and alert.

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