Dolphin / Common Bottlenose Dolphin Facts
Size Up to 22.9 ft (7 m)
Speed Up to 25 mph (40 km/h) (short distances), up to 7 mph (11 km/h) (long distances)
Weight 330-1433 lb (150-650 kg)
Lifespan 20-45 years
Food Fishes
Predators Sharks, orcas
Habitat Almost all oceans
Order Whales
Suborder Toothed whales
Family Delphinidae
Scientific name Delphinidae
Characteristics Dorsal fin, compact body
Big Family

There are many different dolphins. Including the dolphin from the TV serial „Flipper“ (a bottle-nosed dolphin), there exit about 40 different dolphin species. Some of them are called “whales”, which is quite confusing. The orca whale really is a dolphin for instance. In this profile we are dealing with the common bottlenose dolphin. There is a separate profile for the orca.

Dolphins on the Hunt

Dolphins always hunt together. Some dolphin species round up fish by means of clicking sounds before attacking them.

Weak Animals

If a dolphin is ill, injured or just giving birth to a dolphin baby, the others protect it and transport it to the water surface so that it can breathe.

Common Bottlenose Dolphin Common Bottlenose Dolphin - Photo: vkilikov/Shutterstock

How Do Dolphins Sleep?

They have to permanently stay close to the water surface to be able to breathe, as they are no fish but mammals with lungs. Therefore, dolphins also have to continue swimming during their sleep.

But how does this work? The answer is: Just like a computer they activate an energy saving mode by reducing the activities of one of their cerebral hemispheres. This is a rather complicated process und allows dolphins to shut one eye and execute simple swimming movements simultaneously.

Yet it sometimes happens that a dolphin “forgets” to resurface and breathe. Fortunately the dolphins keep an eye on each other and poke each other to wake up in those cases.

If a Dolphin is in Danger

The marine mammals also stick together during shark attacks and other threats. They attack as a group and can even ram a big shark to kill it.

Common Bottlenose Dolphin Common Bottlenose Dolphin - Photo: Chase Dekker/Shutterstock

Dolphin Language: Can Dolphins Speak?

There is only one correct answer to this question: possibly. We know that dolphins are able to utter about 100 different sounds. They chirp, click, whistle, scream, shout, groan, grunt, squeak and even make noises like creaking doors.

Yet, until today nobody has been able to lift the secret behind their songs. Scientists think that dolphins express their contentment with slow clicking noises and high whistling sounds while sharp and deep screeching is a signal of anger. It is also presumed that dolphins communicate via body language.

Can Dolphins Survive Outside the Water?

Two things are particularly problematic for dolphins: the heat and their own weight. Imagine the temperature is about 41 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius) outside and you have to wear a thick winter coat, a scarf and a cap.

Now you enter an airplane to travel into tropical regions, but you are not allowed to take off your clothes. What is going to happen? Sooner or later you will get a thermal shock.

The same would happen to dolphins on shore. Their own weight is also a big problem. In the water the pressure on the dolphin’s organs is much lower, so that on shore the animal practically squashes itself.

In All Colors and Shapes

Dolphins can be white, pearl-colored, rose, brown, grey, blue or black.

Common Bottlenose Dolphin Common Bottlenose Dolphin - Photo: alekss-sp/Shutterstock

From XXS to XXL

The smallest and lightest dolphin is Heaviside’s dolphin. It normally reaches a length of just 3.9 ft (1.2 m) and a weight of 88.1 lb (40 kg). The biggest and heaviest dolphin is the grampus (orca), which is also named killer whale. It reaches a length of up to 32 ft (9.8 m) and can weigh up to 10 tons.

How Much Fish Do Dolphins Eat Per Day?

Common bottlenose dolphins eat between 17.6 and 33 lb (8 and 15 kg), orcas about 485 lb (220 kg).

How Deep and How Long Can Dolphins Dive?

Experiments showed that a trained dolphin could dive 1,640 ft (500 m) deep. On average it is about 984 ft (300 m) for a maximum of 20 minutes.

Do Dolphins Have Ears?

Yes, but they do not have auricles like us. Dolphins have extremely small earholes, but they are said to have the best auditory sense of all animals. They also pick up sound waves with their jaws and their head and transmit them to their inner ears.

Common Bottlenose Dolphin Common Bottlenose Dolphin - Photo: alexandro900/Shutterstock

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