Dolphin Facts

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Florida Guide > Miscellaneous

Dolphin Facts

Bottlenose dolphins are endlessly fascinating to watch as they are playful and clever. Here are some facts that you might not already know about them.

  1. Dolphins live in groups called pods
  2. All male pods are called bachelor pods
  3. Bottlenose dolphins are pregnant for 52 – 54 weeks
  4. Young dolphins are called calves
  5. Calves are about 100cm (3 feet) long when they are born
  6. A calf will nurse from its mother for between six months and two years
  7. An adult dolphin can weigh between 300 and 600 lbs (1. 35 – 2. 70 kg)
  8. Dolphins grow to between 6 and 9 feet long
  9. Dolphins eat fish, squid and other marine invertebrates
  10. They may eat up to 50 lbs (23 kg) of food a day
  11. A dolphin’s stomach has three chambers
  12. Dolphins do not chew their food
  13. They have between 80 and 100 teeth
  14. A dolphin does not make any noise with its mouth
  15. Dolphins do not have vocal chords
  16. All the sounds a dolphin makes comes through its blowhole
  17. The hole on a dolphin’s back is called the blowhole
  18. The fin on its back is the dorsal fin, and the flippers on the side are called pectoral flippers
  19. The dorsal fin has no bone in it, but the pectoral flippers have bones a bit like human hands
  20. On its head, just in front of the blowhole a dolphin has a large fatty organ called the melon which is used to focus a ‘beam’ of sound
  21. The dolphin uses its lower jaw and teeth as an antenna
  22. Dolphins are able to ‘see’ underwater by using ‘echolocation’. The dolphin emits a series of clicking sounds and by measuring how long the sound waves take to come back to them they can judge distances. Their lower jaw is used to receive these signals which are then sent to the inner ear.
  23. Echolocation is very effective and although visibility over long distances is poor underwater, a dolphin can tell if something is approaching from as far away as the length of a football pitch.
  24. The average lifespan of a dolphin is 25 – 30 years
  25. The shades of grey of a dolphin’s body (dark above and pale below) make it hard to see from above and below when swimming in the water
  26. A dolphin needs to come to the surface of the water to breathe every 5 – 8 minutes, but usually breathes more frequently than that
  27. The pupil of a dolphin’s eye is horseshoe shaped and has a double slit. This allows it to see equally well in or out of the water

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