ANSWERS: 6
  • No, it is never safe to swim with wild oceanic mammals, despite their lovable and friendly demeanor that you see in water parks, such as Sea World. The animals you see in water parks and Aquariums are trained and spend their lives in captivity, exposed to humans regularly. When these animals are in the wild, it is a completely different story. Dolphins are naturally curious and playful animals, and will not outright attack humans. If anything, they will be curious as to this new animal in their pod, and will probably avoid a person that swims near them. In some areas of the world, namely the Caribbean, wild dolphins will often freely swim up to people and interact with them. However, these are not naturally common behaviors among dolphins. If a dolphin perceives a human as a threat, then the consequences could be life-threatening. A curious, painless bump may be the initial investigation, and if the dolphin decides it doesn't like you, it will probably swim away. If you pursue or harass a dolphin however, you may be in for a bad day. Dolphins have been known to kill sharks by ramming them with their heads (most notably the long snout) at tremendous speed. Needless to say, one well placed ram and you'll be dead...at the speed which dolphins move, an attack ram could break many bones in one strike, causing life threatening injury or death. It is not advisable to swim amongst dolphins, unless the locals or an instructor says it is safe. Needless to say swimming with them in the open ocean is a very bad idea, since dolphins are the last thing you'll have to worry about. The same goes for seals. Seals are not quite as playful as dolphins, and when approached by a human, they will be more likely to retreat. Though not aggressive, there have been instances where seals have bitten divers and swimmers who have gotten too close, particularly if they tried to touch or grab them. Seals are essentially like aquatic dogs...they are 'cute and cuddly' and may be curious and playful with a human. However, caution should always be observed, since seals can grow very large, and if they feel threatened, they may attack by ramming and biting, particularly if there are pups around. Finally, there is another reason you shouldn't swim with these animals...when you are swimming with them, you will appear to look like one of them. That is inviting, as usual, a shark attack. Dolphins and especially Seals are natural prey of sharks. If you were to dare swim with these animals, you are risking your life. In fact, you may be more of an open target than the seals and dolphins would be, since humans, when they swim, are more erratic and give off more detectable waves of energy when they swim, which resemble a fish, or in this case, a dolphin or seal in distress. This past summer in 2003, in the United States, a woman was killed by a Great White Shark off the California coastline while she was swimming with Seals. Obviously, the commotion caused by patterns of human swimming drew the shark to her more than the seals, because to the shark she appeared to be in distress. It is never advisable to swim in an area where seals congregate, which is usually large rocks along coastline, jutting out of water that can be anywhere from 5 to 25 feet deep. These are prime hunting grounds for sharks. Even Orcas, or 'Killer Whales', which normally feed on seals, may mistake a human being for a seal and attack. A person would be more likely to survive a shark attack than an Orca attack, simply because Orcas have such tremendous biting power in their jaws, and their heavily muscular bodies allow them to propel themselves at lightning speed underwater, and if you were unfortunate enough to be in the path of an Orca, you would probably not survive. However, you would be more likely to be attacked by a shark in these cases. If you feel the need to swim with dolphins and seals, ask yoir local Fisheries coordinator if there are any programs like that around. Typically, the best place to do this is in the Southeastern and Southwestern United States, the Caribbean, and some other countries. NEVER do this in the open ocean, or in an area where it is not designated that you can do so.
  • In captivity, dolphins and seals attack far more people than they do in the wild. Dolphins are naturally aggressive animals; infanticide, forced copulation and kidnapping of females, bites, rammings, violent killings of porpoises and other dolphins and smacks around the head with their tails are all normal dolphin behaviors. Dolphin curiousity is part and parcel of being a highly efficient predator. As with seals. Sharks, too are very curious. There have been many cases of humans swimming with sharks and having their flippers tugged or being brushed past. Dolphins sometimes do similar behaviors. Yet, when a dolphin does it, people are not afraid. But they are of a shark. Basically, dolphins are very large, powerful, wild predators that do attack people in the wild, sometimes when unprovoked. If you swim with wild dolphins, you need to always be cautious. NEVER try to reach out and touch them. If you do this, it is almost guaranteed they will swim or move away or bite you. Same with seals. Seals are just as playful as dolphins. But, they too are wild animals.
  • I had the chance to swim with a wild dolphin pod in New Zealand. They were very friendly and curious about us humans. The reason we had the chance is that we went out on a research boat for a few hours, and the researchers knew what to look for. They said we would only be allowed in the water if they gave us the go ahead after they watched the pod for about half an hour. They were familiar with seeing how they were acting. So if they saw any aggressive behaviour, or if the dolphins were acting "odd", there was a chance of danger (likely a predator like an Orca in the area), and the dolphins would not be safe to swim with. On our outing, the dolphins were being playful, and acting mellow. So we were allowed in for about 20 minutes. It was great, but I was with a group of experienced marine biologists. The big rule was NOT to touch the dolphins. As far as seals, I've talked to many divers that say they avoid them because they are very unpredictable, and they are also targets for sharks and Orcas, so if you are in a pack of seals, your chance of being mistaken for prey goes up dramatically.
  • It is not. And it is not humane either.
  • i dont think so
  • I have swum with both on several occasions with no concerns and not the slightest bit of aggressive behavior of either. How many times have you ever even heard of anybody being seriously hurt from an attack by either? In California there are seals in and around virtually all the beaches where people swim and surf. Nobody cares! They are both predators and are capable of attacking swimmers but it is very rare. "Safe" is relative but normally, yes, it is safe to swim with dolphins and seals.

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