Why Dolphins Jump Out Of The Water? Is it for Fun?…

While dolphins jumping out of water in a pool in the show might be trained to do so, but what about dolphins in the sea, ocean, rivers, or streams that approach people and jumps out of the water which aren’t trained? So why do dolphins jump out of water? What do they want to do? Here’s the one-line answer.

The Straightforward Answer…

Dolphins mainly jump out of the water to breathe and avoid predators and also as a form of navigation to see where they are and get oriented above the water. Dolphins have to break the surface of the water in order to breathe, alert the presence of the threat, get food and do self-cleaning. However, dolphins are also pretty friendly to humans so they reach out people and starts jumping out of the water to attract attention, show, present, and display themselves and also dolphins love humans to entertain, communicate, and get loved by humans. Dolphins also leap out of the water to express their happiness and excitement. It also includes attract attention, self-cleaning, itching, warn off, alert, make noise, lead, impress people or their mates. 

If you’ve been in a dolphin show, you’ve probably seen dolphins jumping out of water. Or if you’ve been traveling or on a trip on a cruise or boat, chances are you might have likely seen them since dolphins are widespread across the world, from Asia waters to Africa to Australia and America.

While most of the species live in the ocean but there are some species that live in the rivers and streams. However, dolphins are quite intelligent and loving mammals which approach people in the water and start jumping out of the water including dolphins in the sea or ocean, and dolphins in the pool in a show.

Why Dolphins Jump Out Of The Water?

Quite many of the fishes jump out of the water and with no doubt, you’ve definitely seen dolphins jump out of the water. In fact, they are seen and are the most popular fish. Similar to sea otters holding hands, dolphins jump out for the water for several reasons. The act of dolphins jumping out of the water is called breaching.

While dolphins are one of the extremely intelligent and smart mammals just like us and apes, so what is the purpose behind? Here are the reasons and details for it.

To Breath

Since dolphins do not have gills like fish, they cannot breathe in the water and must breathe air out of the water like we do. This means, dolphins can’t breathe underwater and can’t breathe unconsciously the way we do. Dolphins need to keep jumping out of the water to breathe. This also means dolphins don’t die out of the water just like other fish (that’s right) but dolphins can’t live on the land, because they dehydrate, burns of the heat, can’t move, and difficult breathing as they are not accustomed to it. They are the same as whales but on a smaller scale. If you don’t know, whales are always on the surface of water in order to breathe, however, how do they breastfeed their baby?

But how do they breathe when sleeping? Dolphins do need some sleep to take rest so they have an amazing ability which helps them maintain breathing just like owls that sleep in the day. Dolphins take rest with the half part of their brain while keeping the other parts of the brain conscious and thus making sure that the dolphin is jumping out of the water and breathing. They can even do switching the conscious sides of the brain. It’s their primary requirement but, that doesn’t mean they leap out of the water always for breathing. There are many more reasons than that, here’s the next one.

Avoid & Alert Presence of The Predator

In addition to breathing, they make lots of sounds. Like beavers slap the water for alerting others, dolphins leap out of the water is to avoid and lost from the predators. They also alert other dolphins by leaping out of the water, alerting the presence of the threat or the object such as a boat.

While sharks seem to be their predator like most of the fishes, but not for dolphins. In fact, sharks are afraid of the dolphins, because not only dolphins are big but they are also very fast swimmer and ram the sharks so hard that it dies but sharks often try to hunt dolphins. But they do have predators like killer whales. Dolphins also jump out of the water to avoid predators or the predator lose their track off. If they leap out of the water, sometimes the predator will leave it alone as they do not come to the surface of the water or might lose track of the prey. It’s fast and furious and higher than the typical jump and swims faster than normal.

Sometimes, dolphins do breaching to lead the pod.


When it comes to jumping, raccoons are the champion, here’s how and why. However, dolphins are also not very far and can jump very high and sometimes for navigation.

Dolphins jump out of the water to navigate using echolocation similar to the technique bats use to fly in the hunt but dolphins also have highly developed eyesight. They use strong muscles to change the lens of their eyes so they can focus both above and below the water surface in an instant.

“Dolphin clicks are highly directional, with the energy focused in front of the animal, much like a flashlight, according to Marc Lammers, an expert in dolphin acoustics and an associate research professor at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology. This probably means dolphins leap out of the water to find a direction that is nearly the same as navigation.

Like in October and November, when winter is on the way, dolphins travel from the coastal waters of Virginia and North Carolina to the waters of northern Florida. Like every trip, dolphins leap out of the water to navigate and find their direction. Meanwhile, dolphins will also do beaching to see out of the water of a predator, food, and see each other just like bears stand to see and communicate.

To Communicate

Wonder why dolphins jump out of the water? Here’s the next reason.

You may call it entertaining or fun but it has a purpose for dolphins. Not always dolphins jump out of the water for entertaining, however, dolphins may also leap out of the water (breaching) to communicate. While every dolphin has their own sound which is whistle and even each of them has a unique name, despite that, they do use breaching to communicate with each other.

Dolphins jump out of the water to lead the pod, alert and warn of the threat, watch each other, show dominance, freshen itself, show and entertain each other.

For Fun, Showing Themselves & Their Happiness

Just like whales, dolphins are attracted to humans and they visit people and show themselves by jumping out of water. Similar to the dogs that wag their tails in happiness or when excited, dolphins leap out of the water. In addition to those reasons, one of the reasons dolphins leap out of the water is to share their excitement. As dolphins love humans and are attracted to humans, so when dolphins see people out there in the sea or ocean, they become pretty happy and loves to be with humans so they start breaching and amazes everyone.

Dolphins have helped people in the water and cases are of dolphins that have been reported saving people’s life drowning in the sea or from shark attacks. While dolphins are trained for presenting and entertaining people by jumping out of the water, dolphins are also in essence love to help people and also entertain jumping out of the water and show themselves. As cute as dolphins are, they are also helpful and entertaining. Next time when you see dolphins, you may know they are excited.


Being extremely intelligent, dolphins’ eyesight and hear frequency is 10 times more than a human. Dolphins use their eyesight and hearing ability to find and get food. As dolphins are mostly on the surface of the water, they will often try to find food up there which are mostly birds but can also be some fishes that appear on the surface of the water. There are lots of birds which eats fish and some of them even sits on the water for hunting, so when they sit on the water, dolphins jump out of the water to catch and hunt. However, they can jump really high and fast that can catch birds even flying a few meters up from the water.

If you have ever seen dolphins, you may probably know they jump out of the water to catch birds mostly. They also find and hunts fishes that are on the water, there are some fishes which live on the upper level of the water like dolphins.


Similar to whales, dolphins jump out of the water to clean themselves. Sometimes, dolphins are bothered by parasites, or are itching or they have got dirty so they jump out of the water and hit back to the water with their whole weight to get rid of those. Whales do the same thing to do self-cleaning and wash themselves up. In fact, dolphins are from the family of whales and killer whales are dolphins.

While dolphins don’t commonly do it for self-cleaning but it’s probably one of the reasons that happen.

Why Do Dolphins Spin Jumping out of The Water?

In addition to jumping out of the water, dolphins sometimes jump out of the water spinning and they mostly do in a group as they are often in a large family group.

Dolphins jump spinning out of the water lets the rest of their pod and even distant dolphins know where they are. Others speculate that the splash helps the dolphin accent an exclamation point communicating things like happiness, anger or fear. And some observers feel that they spin above the surface to rid themselves of parasites.

In fact, dolphins can jump spectacularly in different styles like front flips, backflips, spinning, and quite lots of styles and they can also jump extremely high out of the water. Sometimes dolphins leap out of the water to wash. They are extremely strong agile animals.

Leave a Comment