Florida Guide > Miscellaneous
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.
- Dolphins live in groups called pods
- All male pods are called bachelor pods
- Bottlenose dolphins are pregnant for 52 – 54 weeks
- Young dolphins are called calves
- Calves are about 100cm (3 feet) long when they are born
- A calf will nurse from its mother for between six months and two years
- An adult dolphin can weigh between 300 and 600 lbs (1. 35 – 2. 70 kg)
- Dolphins grow to between 6 and 9 feet long
- Dolphins eat fish, squid and other marine invertebrates
- They may eat up to 50 lbs (23 kg) of food a day
- A dolphin’s stomach has three chambers
- Dolphins do not chew their food
- They have between 80 and 100 teeth
- A dolphin does not make any noise with its mouth
- Dolphins do not have vocal chords
- All the sounds a dolphin makes comes through its blowhole
- The hole on a dolphin’s back is called the blowhole
- The fin on its back is the dorsal fin, and the flippers on the side are called pectoral flippers
- The dorsal fin has no bone in it, but the pectoral flippers have bones a bit like human hands
- 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
- The dolphin uses its lower jaw and teeth as an antenna
- 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.
- 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.
- The average lifespan of a dolphin is 25 – 30 years
- 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
- A dolphin needs to come to the surface of the water to breathe every 5 – 8 minutes, but usually breathes more frequently than that
- 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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