Do Dolphins Smile?

26/07/2021

When you look at a dolphin, you see that they look like they’re smiling. But this isn't accurate. Head of Wildlife, for World Animal Protection, Dr. Jan Schmidt-Burbach sets the record straight on the dolphin “smile”

Dolphins often look like they’re smiling. But they aren't. The dolphin's toothy grin masks its suffering and contributes to the myth that dolphins in theme parks enjoy a happy life.

Narrated by Dr. Jan Schmidt-Burbach, our Global Head of Wildlife Research and Animal Welfare, our video “Breaking the Myths” addresses a common misconception about these incredibly intelligent and playful animals.  

Dolphins cannot move their facial muscles to communicate feelings like humans can. Dolphins appear to smile even while injured or seriously ill. The smile is a feature of a dolphin's anatomy unrelated to its health or emotional state.

Join our global community to defend dolphins by taking our pledge to only see dolphins in the wild - where they belong.