Sunday, January 22, 2006

Shark or dolphin?

How do you know if the large body of the animal near the surface of the water belongs to a shark or a dolphins? How do you know if you should scream for help or enjoy swimming along in the presence of a dolphin, this friendly marine mammal that is so popular amongst the human crowd?

Easily since their body itself is actually giving you the answer. You see, they both have a dorsal fin which can confuse easily people. But the main characteristic is the tail. You see, dolphins have flukes that are both horizontal which means that it will go up and down instead of side to side. Also, when their tail is out of the water, it will not slice the surface like a second fin.

Sharks on the other hand have a vertical tail which means that it goes from side to side and has the appearance of a fin slicing the surface helping any human to identify their threatening presence.
Also, you will notice that often, dolphins, especially while swimming in a pod, tend to jump in and out of the water exposing partially their back and their tail. Sharks tend to swim in a zigzaging manner close to the surface of the water compared to dolphins which will swim in a straight line.

If confusion clouds your mind, never take a chance and just get out of the water. After all, it is preferable to be wrong and later find out that you left the presence of a dolphin compared to be in the presence of a hunting shark.

Quick "Facts about Dolphins"