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Common dolphins © Christopher Swann

Did you know dolphins have personalities?

Bold and shy dolphins illustration

We all have personalities It's not so different for dolphins - each dolphin has a different character and role in their pod. Some are bold and confident, and others are shy and more cautious.

Proof of personality

Scientists studying wild bottlenose dolphins who live off the coast of Italy have now been able to prove that each dolphin has a unique personality.  Their study revealed how familiar individual dolphins responded to something unexpected in their environment – such as a scuba diver.  The results were very clear indeed. Bold dolphins were curious and investigated the diver despite not knowing if the diver was a threat or not.  Dolphins with shy personalities did not choose to take such risks. They were far more cautious and stayed away from the scuba diver.

Bold and shy

This different response to the unfamiliar scuba diver is very interesting. Being cautious and staying safe means that shy dolphins are less likely to be injured or killed from contact with humans or other risky situations.  Bold dolphins are more outgoing and curious they are the most sociable personality type and encourage other dolphins to interact and build friendships. This encourages harmony within dolphin communities. Bold dolphins are very good at spreading news because they quickly share information about anything important with all their friends - including good fishing hotspots.

Better together

It is the range of personalities in a dolphin community that is key to their success and helps them flourish. Just like us – it is the variety that supports social harmony and unity for everyone’s health, happiness, and survival. Dolphins are better together just like us!

Dolphin personalities sheet

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