Bottlenose dolphins diet consists mainly of small fish with occasional squid, crabs, shrimp, and other smaller animals.

Their teeth are not used to chew the food. When they find a shoal of fish, dolphins work as a team to keep the fish close together and maximize the intake. They also search for fish alone. Sometimes dolphins employ “fish whacking” where a fish is stunned (and sometimes thrown out of the water) with the fluke to catch and eat the fish easier especially when dealing with large specimens.

In some Mediterranean areas sometimes there is a conflict between common Bottlenose Dolphins and small-scale commercial fisheries looking for the same prey. Common Bottlenose Dolphins are probably attracted to fishing nets because they make easier for dolphins eat from a concentrated food source.