Dolphin attacks off Suishohama beach in central Japan have left four swimmers injured, officials said Monday. A dolphin on Sunday morning broke the ribs of a 60-year-old man, who also suffered bites to his hands after the sea creature rammed him.
In a separate incident the same morning, a 40-year-old man sustained bites on his arm.
Two other attacks by the mammals on the same day brought the count of such attacks this year up to six, local police said, adding that warning signs advising people to avoid dolphins have been put up.
While many may find it surprising to hear that dolphins can be aggressive, hostile behaviour towards swimmers is not unprecedented.
Two women in Ieland were injured in ten days by the same dolphin in 2013. One of them suffered from a broken rib. A year later, a dolphin aggressively encircled five swimmers, who had to be rescued.
According to scientists, a plausible explanation for why the otherwise playful and purportedly “harmless” mammal may turn aggressive is that wild bottlenose dolphins find it “incredibly stressful” to swim alongside humans, as this may affect their behaviour patterns.
However, while their hostility to humans may still surprise some, dolphins have been known to be aggressive toward other sea creatures.
Recently, a video went viral, showing a bottlenose dolphin flipping a porpoise into the air off the coast of England.