Amazing Facts about Dolphins

Dolphins are wonderful animals that seem to be very intelligent and friendly, characteristics that have fascinated humans for centuries.

While dolphins are loved by everybody, very few know about their life and dangers, their threats or even their basic facts.

Taxonomically speaking, dolphins belong to Cetacean order, which include the aquatic mammals most fully adapted to marine life. They, like other cetacean, went back to the ocean from land fifty million years ago.

Dolphins have been interacting with humans for long time, in fact, as long as we have knowledge of their existence. However, as and apex predator in the ocean, dolphins have not huge threats from marine animals, being their most dangerous enemy... humans.

10 Differences between Dolphins and Porpoises

Top Facts about Dolphins

 
  1. Dolphins are mammals. They nurse their kids with milk from their mothers.
  2. Dolphins are cetaceans and they are classified in two suborders, marine and river dolphins.
  3. There are 41 species of dolphins according to Wiki-Species, being 36 oceanic and 5 fresh water dolphins.
  4. Dolphins are social creatures and they live in pods of 10 to 12 individuals which group for protection and feeding.
  5. Dolphins have very developed senses, including echolocation, a sonar-like sense used to locate food or dangers, but they lack of olfactory sense.
  6. Dolphins breathe through a blowhole located at the top of their bodies which take the air directly to their lungs.
  7. Dolphins eat fish like mackerel, herring, cod or squid.
  8. Dolphin's gestation period ranges from 11 to 17 months varying according to species.
  9. The most common dolphin is the bottlenose dolphin.
  10. Dolphin's biggest threat is human activity.
 

Dolphin Species

 

Dolphins belong to suborder Odontoceti which includes toothed whales.

This suborder splits into two families:

  • Delphinidae, grouping ocean dolphins, and
  • Platanistoidea, including river dolphins

There are 36 species of dolphins belonging to the family Delphinidae living in the ocean and 5 species of dolphins living in rivers, although the Chinese river dolphin is functionally extinct, remaining only 4 species of dolphins in rivers.

The best known dolphin or the image that most of us have from dolphins in pictures, movies or television is the bottlenose dolphin.

Dolphin Intelligence

Dolphin intelligence and behavior have been studied extensively by scientists.

It has been proved that dolphins are capable to engage in complex activities and playing even solving problems creatively.

During research, dolphins have been encountered using tools to perform tasks, like the well know case of dolphins in Australia using sponges to search for food at the bottom of the ocean to avoid abrasions to their skin.

Even more, some uncorroborated studies have suggested that dolphins are self-aware, and indicator of highly developed, abstract thinking.

Dolphin Reproduction

Reproduction in dolphins starts with copulation belly to belly between a pair of dolphins. If successful, it starts a gestation period which varies from species to species but that ranges from 11 to 17 months.

For bottlenose dolphins the gestation perios is around 12 months.

Calves are delivered after this time with the help of another dolphin which takes the role of a midwife.

As mammals, calves are nursed with milk from their mothers for up to 18 months, but they stay with their mothers for up to six years while they learn to hunt and survive by themselves.

Facts about Common Dolphins Video

Dolphin Communication

Dolphins communicate in several forms through whistles, clicks and sounds.

Although this kind of communication has been widely researched, there is still very little known about the amount of information that is carried in every sound.

What is already known is that some of these sounds are used to coordinate pods while hunting, improving the efficiency of the feeding effort.

Also, it is believed that identity information can be passed through some of these sounds.

Clicking is used as part of echolocation, a sonar-like technique used by dolphins and some other cetaceans to locate food or potential dangers.

Dolphin Social Life

Dolphins are social creatures and they live in groups called pods formed by 10 to 12 individuals.

Sometimes, they even join with other pods forming larger groups called super-pods when food is abundant for everyone, but this is just temporary.

Within the pod, dolphins protect each other, reproduce and take care of their babies. Pods are also very important for feeding as we will describe below.

It has even been proved that dolphins have cultural behavior at they transmit learned skills from mothers to younger dolphins, like the case described above when mothers teach their young how to use sponges to protect their mouths when searching for food.

Dolphin Feeding

Dolphins eat fish like mackerel, cod and herring and squid. The amount of fish eaten varies according to the size of the species, but they usually consume between 5-10% of their body mass daily.

This means that a 250 Kg. dolphin consumes between 12.5 and 25 Kg of fish. The amount will depend on the kind of fish consumed and the amount of fat they have, which is needed by dolphins to get the energy for living.

To hunt, dolphins use several techniques being the most common of them herding, where a pod of dolphins surround a school of fish to keep them as tight as possible, and then dolphins take turns to dive through the compacted pod, feeding.

Threats to Dolphins

Dolphins have very few natural enemies, only a few species of large sharks are potential threat for dolphins, especially for calves.

By far, humans are the most dangerous predator for dolphins.

Activities like commercial fishing, contamination or change to dolphin habitats are the cause of thousands of dolphin casualties.

Finally, sound contamination of the ocean is believed to produce negative effects and disorientation on dolphins.

Although we love dolphins, knowing their incredible capabilities and characteristics will encourage all of us to take care of them.

What do dolphins eat?

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Comments 74 comments

louise 7 years ago

great! got loads of facts for my homework!


Emily 7 years ago

Brilliant


Emily 7 years ago

Brilliant


Emily 7 years ago

Brilliant


Emily Adams 7 years ago

I love it i got lots of stuff for my homework


aimee 7 years ago

cool i have always whanted to swim with a dolphin.


natalie tyson 7 years ago

This is a really excellent picture of the whales.


Lynn 7 years ago

Wonderful! My kids enjoyed this... Would love more info on pink dolphins


galilea 7 years ago

it really help me do my homwork i got a bunch of info


omg i love this 6 years ago

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ry anne 6 years ago

this is awesome. it helped me loads for my project!


laurentmikhail profile image

laurentmikhail 6 years ago from Miami, FL Author

Thanks for your comments


Britney Cusher 6 years ago

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valeria 6 years ago

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mama 6 years ago

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Valerie & Debrina 6 years ago

We are doing a project for are science , we're in 7th grade(: hope we get a geewd grade ;DDD


hm 6 years ago

love that swim wit dolphins


haven 6 years ago

thnxs helped with my report!:)


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i love this so much


Hailey  6 years ago

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Georgina 6 years ago

This website helped me a lot on my project. I hope that with this clever and important facts I might even probaly get a high score on my end of 3rd grade report!


Georgina 6 years ago

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peace  6 years ago

i think this website is so cool and if any of you want to be a marine biolo then this can help oh and i want to so its helping me.so to remember all of this i put it in a notebook with pitures of marine animals, anywerd it helped me a lot and it can help you.


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Daniella 6 years ago

I love dolphins and this website is brilliant and helps me to learn more about dolphins. Amazing little creatures they are!


Daniella 6 years ago

I got loads for my information report at school too!


hhyy 6 years ago

This dolphin facts are awesome for my homework!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is ao cool. I wish i could swim with a dolphin


Brett 5 years ago

our elementry school are the Dolphins and i have made them a life size dolphin out of fiberglass. i am giving it to them in an assembly on monday. i hope to entertain them with facts and inspire them. thanks for all the great facts.


karin mae 5 years ago

Brilliant

Now I have some good

Information about dolphins

For my homework!!!


daja 5 years ago

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Haley 5 years ago

they are just so cute i now can finish my book report about those cute little cretures


Courtney 5 years ago

Exellant they are just so adorable as i work and own 5 of them and take in injred ones


jjk 5 years ago

This website is the best website i ever been on for dolphins, so far I am doing really well on my book report! i love dolphins!


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ivana 5 years ago

very good..dolphines are the most kindest mammals for me, i love them !


kasaye 5 years ago

so cute man yea boy this is renyeee


salt profile image

salt 5 years ago from australia

absolutely beautiful. I love dolphins and their energetic vibration is so healthy.

I wonder looking at both videos, how much we interfere in other animals lives. They are beautiful though and the speed of movement of the wild dolphins is amazing. How their tail changes direction etc.

I want to learn more about them without feeling like I am intruding on their life.


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very cool!


Vaniaperry 4 years ago

I love dolphins and its great :)


Bob 4 years ago

It's great


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wow that is so prety i wish i chould be a dolphins. they are just so prety i just hug it so hard plese


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cool


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Aamirah 4 years ago

this website is sooooo cool it helped me on my project a lot Ilove dolphins they are sooooo cute


anonymusgirl 4 years ago

it is great. It helps my bestfriend learn more about this wonderful creature.


Mary Wray (grandma and Mickey) 4 years ago

Tyler! What an awesome site you put together! Can you look into butterflies, dragonflies and hummingbirds for me? Love,

Grandma and Mickey


Mili 4 years ago

This is brilliant! It really helped me on my project on dolphins! I cant believe how cuuuuuute AND how intelligent they are! Love em and this site! Thnx!


laurentmikhail profile image

laurentmikhail 4 years ago from Miami, FL Author

Sure we will. Thanks for the suggestion


rose 4 years ago

thanks this helps me a lot for my homework!


yairis 4 years ago

great found lots of info for my report


JAZZY 4 years ago

i love dolphins so much whene im older im going to be a marine biology :-) !!!


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this site is great


macy 4 years ago

the coool


laurentmikhail profile image

laurentmikhail 4 years ago from Miami, FL Author

Thanks, I really appreciate your comments!


Ashleigh 4 years ago

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Bianca 4 years ago

This is brilliant! It really helped me on my project on dolphins! I cant believe how cuuuuuute AND how intelligent they are! Love em and this site! Thnx!


clara 8 months ago 4 years ago

I love dolphins for my project english


Monica 3 years ago

I like your project, because your project have two movies that is very interesting!!!Expeselly the one about `Swimming with Dolphins`.


MCKALA 3 years ago

I LOVE DOLPHINS THEY ARE REALLY COOL ANIMALS IT HELPED ME WITH MY PROJECT.............


makayla 3 years ago

I LOVE DOLPHINS THEY ARE REALLY COOL ANIMALS IT HELPED ME WITH MY PROJECT


Tay 3 years ago

luv it, really helped me with this huge project in writing thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Anyelique Avila 3 years ago

I Love Dolphins!!!!!!(heart)


h2orocks 3 years ago

thx so much!! i love your facts and my fav animal is a dolphin and i have no more homework now thx sooooooooooo much.


h2orocks 3 years ago

thanks again so much!!


Jimel 23 months ago

thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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