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Amazing Facts about Dolphins

Updated on February 23, 2016

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?

Comments

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  • profile image

    Jimel 2 years ago

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

  • profile image

    h2orocks 4 years ago

    thanks again so much!!

  • profile image

    h2orocks 4 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.

  • profile image

    Anyelique Avila 4 years ago

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

  • profile image

    Tay 4 years ago

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

  • profile image

    makayla 4 years ago

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

  • profile image

    MCKALA 4 years ago

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

  • profile image

    Monica 4 years ago

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

  • profile image

    clara 8 months ago 5 years ago

    I love dolphins for my project english

  • profile image

    Bianca 5 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!

  • profile image

    ephany 5 years ago

    wow it was very amazing this help me a lot whith my project

  • profile image

    Ashleigh 5 years ago

    thanks it helped me with my report!

    illlllllllllllllllllllluuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee dophins! :0 :)

  • laurentmikhail profile image
    Author

    Laurent Mikhail 5 years ago from Miami, FL

    Thanks, I really appreciate your comments!

  • profile image

    macy 5 years ago

    the coool

  • profile image

    wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeewewewewewewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww 5 years ago

    this site is great

  • profile image

    cool aisha dj 5 years ago

    the are so cool

  • profile image

    JAZZY 5 years ago

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

  • profile image

    yairis 5 years ago

    great found lots of info for my report

  • profile image

    rose 5 years ago

    thanks this helps me a lot for my homework!

  • laurentmikhail profile image
    Author

    Laurent Mikhail 5 years ago from Miami, FL

    Sure we will. Thanks for the suggestion

  • profile image

    Mili 5 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!

  • profile image

    Mary Wray (grandma and Mickey) 5 years ago

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

    Grandma and Mickey

  • profile image

    anonymusgirl 5 years ago

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

  • profile image

    Aamirah 5 years ago

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

  • profile image

    april 5 years ago

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  • profile image

    brianna 5 years ago

    cool

  • profile image

    carrie 5 years ago

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

  • profile image

    Bob 5 years ago

    It's great

  • profile image

    Vaniaperry 5 years ago

    I love dolphins and its great :)

  • profile image

    brianna 6 years ago

    very cool!

  • profile image

    alaska 6 years ago

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  • salt profile image

    salt 6 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.

  • profile image

    kasaye 6 years ago

    so cute man yea boy this is renyeee

  • profile image

    ivana 6 years ago

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

  • profile image

    Nicky 6 years ago

    This is coooool i'm writing a report and this rlly helps

  • profile image

    lara 6 years ago

    coooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool!!!!!!!

  • profile image

    jjk 6 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!

  • profile image

    Courtney 6 years ago

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

  • profile image

    Haley 6 years ago

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

  • profile image

    daja 6 years ago

    this was good information! it helped me with my homewok!

  • profile image

    karin mae 6 years ago

    Brilliant

    Now I have some good

    Information about dolphins

    For my homework!!!

  • profile image

    Brett 6 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.

  • profile image

    hhyy 7 years ago

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

  • profile image

    Daniella 7 years ago

    I got loads for my information report at school too!

  • profile image

    Daniella 7 years ago

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

  • profile image

    Anne 7 years ago

    hey i want to be a marine biolo so i looked this website up and it seemed interesting so i clicked on it and i learned a lot this website is BEAST !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • profile image

    peace  7 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.

  • profile image

    Georgina 7 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!

  • profile image

    Georgina 7 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!

  • profile image

    Hailey  7 years ago

    IM DOING A SCIENCE REPORT ON CHINESE RIVER DOLPHINS AND I COULDN'T FIND ANY INFO ON THESE DOLPHINS BUT I DID LIKE THE PICTURES AND VIDEOS THEY WERE SWEET!!!!!!!!!!

  • profile image

    nydia 7 years ago

    i love this so much

  • profile image

    Pinxs 7 years ago

    i need more info...plz

  • profile image

    Taylor 7 years ago

    This is a great site and it really helped me with my homework plus cool info. :]

  • profile image

    cleo234 7 years ago

    I LOVE THE WEBSITE IT IS THE BEST WEBSITE I HAVE BEEN ON YET IT REALLY HELPED WITH MY HOMEWORK I HAVE GOT 2 PAGES

  • profile image

    emma  7 years ago

    I think this web site is awsome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I LOVE DOLPHINS

  • profile image

    haven 7 years ago

    thnxs helped with my report!:)

  • profile image

    hm 7 years ago

    love that swim wit dolphins

  • profile image

    Valerie & Debrina 7 years ago

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

  • profile image

    mama 7 years ago

    It really helped wit my homework and i love dolphins there such beatiful animals I LUV THIS SITE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • profile image

    loo loo 7 years ago

    these are good fact very

  • profile image

    valeria 7 years ago

    I USED THIS PAGE FOR MY PROYECT IN SCIENCE!!!!!I LOVE DOLPHINS!!!!!))))))

  • profile image

    Britney Cusher 7 years ago

    THAT WAS AN REALLY AMAZING VIDIEO AND THE FACTS HELPED ME LOADS IN MY HOMEWORK WHERE I CHOSED DOLPHINS BEACAUSE I LOVE THEM AND REALLY COOL AND I NEVER FOUND OUT SO MUCH ON THEM I JUST CAME TO KNOW THEM TODAY WHEN I SAW THESE SITE THESE HELED ME TO GET A BUNCH OF INFORMATION AND BEACAUSE I LOVED IT SO MUCH I THINK THIS WAS A BRILLIANT AWESOME INCREDIBLE AMAZING COOL SUPER DUPER SITE

  • laurentmikhail profile image
    Author

    Laurent Mikhail 7 years ago from Miami, FL

    Thanks for your comments

  • profile image

    ry anne 7 years ago

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

  • profile image

    omg i love this 8 years ago

    really cool!really cool i would have neve found ut about all thoes types!

    ^^

  • profile image

    galilea 8 years ago

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

  • profile image

    Lynn 8 years ago

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

  • profile image

    natalie tyson 8 years ago

    This is a really excellent picture of the whales.

  • profile image

    aimee 8 years ago

    cool i have always whanted to swim with a dolphin.

  • profile image

    Emily Adams 8 years ago

    I love it i got lots of stuff for my homework

  • profile image

    Emily 8 years ago

    Brilliant

  • profile image

    Emily 8 years ago

    Brilliant

  • profile image

    Emily 8 years ago

    Brilliant

  • profile image

    louise 9 years ago

    great! got loads of facts for my homework!