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Bottlenose Dolphin

Updated on February 25, 2016

Genus Tursiops

Bottlenose Dolphin Description

 With the mischievous grin on their face, the Bottlenose Dolphin is one that many people out there are familiar with. You may have seen them in captivity or at the very least in the movies. They are well known by their looks because they have features that are very adorable. They have one of the longest noses out there. They have a light gray color and the bottom of them is a white color so that they blend in well to the environment.

They can be quite large or quite small but it is based on where they live. Those that live in cooler climates can be up to 1,400 pounds and 13 feet in length. Those that live in warmer areas though may only be about 300 pounds and 6 feet long. It is this huge difference in size though that often results in Bottlenose Dolphins being misidentified.

Bottlenose Dolphin Anatomy

 They are able to move through the water at quite a fast pace. However, they tend to slow it down unless they are excited or there is some type of danger in the area. They use their fins for steering though instead of to help with the actual movements through the water. They are long and slender in build though so they can glide easily through the water.

They have many rows of sharp teeth as well. There can be up to 26 rows but they don’t use them to chew food. Instead they simply swallow their prey whole. Another interesting characteristic is that they have a flexible neck. This allows them to move their heads from side to side. This is possible because their vertebrae isn’t permanently placed in their necks.

Bottlenose Dolphin Evolution

 Many people are fascinated by the past for these dolphins. What occurred that made this possible for them? We have identified the remains of dolphins from about 25 million years ago. Most experts believe the survival for the Bottleneck Dolphins is due to the process of evolution. They were able to develop the right anatomy to be water animals instead of creatures moving around on land. The biggest reason for this occurring was likely for them to be able to gain access to enough food for survival.

Bottlenose Dolphin Behavior

 You may have heard information about the studies for dolphin communications before. The idea that they are so sophisticated and intelligent isn’t lost on that fact. They love to socialize and they have many variations of their clicking and whistling that they use to do it. They are also very loving and caring, offering to help each other when they can to the point of even getting injured dolphins to the surface for air.

They live in groups which are referred to as pods. The largest of them have close to 100 members but the average is about 15. They are able to get along well in their pods and there doesn’t seem to be an overall hierarchy. They do what they can though to protect the young by placing them at the inside of the pod structure.

There is no denying the overall level of intelligent of the Bottlenose dolphins. They are very easy to train for fun activities as well as for military operations that take place in the water. They have proven to be able to problem solve, to be able to identify who they are, and to have excellent memories.

Bottlenose Dolphin Habitat

 They are only found in fresh bodies of water and they are more prone to live in those areas that are tropic. However, some of them do well in the cooler areas too. They have more fat on their bodies to help them adapt to the changing temperature. This can add several hundred pounds to their overall body weight.

Those that live in cooler areas will migrate annually during the coldest parts of the year. They do so in order to ensure that they stay warm enough and that they get adequate amounts of food. By the same token the migration process offers all of the Bottlenose Dolphins the chance to socialize with other pods and to find quality mates.

Bottlenose Dolphin Feeding Habits

 Since these dolphins can consume from 15 to 30 pounds of food daily, they spend many hours finding food. They have the ability to sense the movements of prey in the water though so it is generally a very easy process for them. The pod can work as a group to get schools of fish between them and then consume them. Watching them hunt is really quite fascinating. Almost all of their diet consists of small and medium sized fish.

Bottlenose Dolphin Reproduction

 Mating can occur any time of the year for these dolphins. The males are ready close to 10 years of age and for the females it is at age 5. The loud calls of the dolphins will increase when they are ready to mate. The males generally start the process with the females replying back. When they do get close enough to each other they will spend time engaging in play and gentle touching.

It takes about 12 months for the offspring to arrive after mating. The young are well cared for by their mothers for about the first six years of life. Even though they are introduced to hunting earlier they can feed from her body for about 1 ½ years. Before a dolphin is old enough to mate, he or she will leave the pod. They can either join one or they can decide to star their own.

What is also interesting is that this species of dolphin doesn’t always mate with its own kind. There are some instances of hybrids and many of them do take place in the wild. This is very interesting to researchers. These hybrids can’t breed themselves but they do seem to be well developed and able to live a long life in the wild or in captivity.

Bottlenose Dolphin Predators

 As with all types of dolphins, the main predators happen to be sharks and whales. Many people don’t think those predators can be in fresh water but they can. The location of them varies though so the risk is higher for some Bottlenose dolphins than for others. The young are the most vulnerable when it comes to these types of predators.

The biggest hurdle for the Bottlenose Dolphins happens to humans and their desire to share those same bodies of fresh water. They bring pollution, noise, fishing nets, and boats to these natural habitats. That can make it very hard for the dolphins to have a high quality of life. They don’t do well when there is a great deal of noise around them. They also don’t do well when the water has been heavily polluted.

Many people don’t realize the level of danger that they bring to the Bottlenose Dolphins through their efforts. That is why educating the public about such dangers is really important. Many people are in awe of these creatures so the last thing they want to do is harm them. By becoming conscious that their actions can be creating problems though hopefully there will be less for these dolphins to overcome in regards to their future.


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    lauren 5 years ago

    dolphins are cute xD

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    Winglee 5 years ago


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    MunchMe 7 years ago

    I Love To Much On Dolphins :D ;P x

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    Myah 8 years ago

    I am doing research for school and this website has helped me out so much thank you. Love,Myah Florez!

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    Myah 8 years ago

    I am doing research for school and this website has helped allot thank you so much Love,Myah Florez!