You might be wondering are Dolphins mammals? Cetaceans are marine mammals that have adapted to live in the oceans. There are two groups of cetaceans: Mysticeti (baleen whales), which includes the humpback whale, blue whale, fin whale, killer whale, sperm whale, and bowhead whale; and Odontoceti (toothed whales), which includes dolphins, porpoises, pilot whales, and narwhals. It is believed at one point dolphins lived on land and due to rapidly changing environments adapted quickly to the aquatic form we see today! Dolphins also give birth making them simply amazing mammals under the water.
Table of Contents
Dolphins Breath Through Lungs
Dolphins have lungs just like humans. Most other sea life has gills which they use the motion of the water to breathe. Fish extract oxygen from the water and don’t need to surface. With dolphins having lungs they have to come up for air about every 8 to 10 minutes. How long can dolphins hold their breath is interesting as dolphins are not like most sea animals. For dolphins eating and breathing oxygen is separate. When they come up for air and you see them blowing water it’s not their water but the water from their bodies allowing them to clear room to inhale water free! These unique mammals have collapsing lungs which help them during their dives which humans can’t do.
Dolphin Mammals Give Birth
Many different types of mammals give birth on planet earth. Did you know that dolphins can be pregnant with their calves for up to 12 months? This is unique for dolphins being mammals as others underwater like fish, lay eggs. These mammals also breastfeed their calves with dolphin milk underwater for up to 2-3 years. Dolphins eat a variety of nutrients a day to provide the best milk for their calves. There are usually 3 years between the mother having another calf, aka, baby dolphin.
So no, Dolphins are not born in eggs. Dolphins do not lay eggs because they are mammals.
What Are Common Mammal characteristics
Like many on-land animals, dolphins have some unique characteristics that make them mammals and not fish. These differences are huge in terms of how they live.
- Having a vertebrate
- Able to give live birth
- Having to come up for air for their lungs
- Females being able to produce milk for calves
- Having hair!
They are highly sophisticated working together as a team. Dolphins have three middle ear bones like most mammals. Dolphins are intelligent warm-blooded mammals.
Quick Quiz: Based on the characteristics above, are sharks mammals?
Dolphins Are Warm Blooded
Whales are a lot larger mammals in size compared to dolphins so usually, you’ll find dolphins in areas like Ponce Inlet or Daytona Beach where the water is warmer. Close to the equator. Plenty of fish. A dolphin’s lipid/water and blubber thickness will differ between species. Whales you’ll find further up north where the water is a lot colder due to their blubber lipid thickness. When dolphins sleep they also prefer warmer water.
How Do Dolphins Communicate?
Dolphins are extremely playful in general but how do dolphins communicate? Dolphins emit high-frequency ultrasound waves and then listen to the echoes that bounce off objects in the water. This is how they can tell where other dolphins are, what they’re doing, and what they’re saying. Dolphins also use body language, whistles, and jumping as ways of communicating with each other and us. During our daily dolphin tours, we see them jumping out of the waters as if saying “hello”. Dolphins are a type of marine mammal that uses ultrasound echolocation to navigate, communicate, and hunt. An echolocation is a form of biological sonar.
- Hold hands: Swim with pectoral fins overlapping.
- Arch: Bend head and tail ventrally.
- Flex: Bend head and tail dorsally.
- Headwag: Rapid, side to side shaking of the head.
Dolphins even though their mammals still have many language barriers to get through first or a breakthrough in technology so we humans may communicate with them.
Differences between Dolphins and Porpoises?
Porpoises are a smaller cousin to bottlenose dolphins. Porpoise teeth and dolphins are different, so if you need help telling them apart make sure you’re looking at their mouth! When it comes to size, porpoises can be less than 8ft (2.5m) in length with chunkier bodies from head to fin when compared to dolphins who have slender builds where they get thinner as they move towards the tail fin which is usually more triangular or pointed on these creatures of watery wonderment.
How are Dolphins different from fish?
Dolphins are not your typical fish. Based on 17 fun facts about Dolphins there are a lot of differences between the two creatures, but one difference that nearly always stands out in people’s minds is how they breathe. Fish extract oxygen from the water and don’t need to surface; whereas dolphins have adapted over time into mammals that require air in order to survive – otherwise they would drown!
How many different species of Dolphins exist?
The dolphin is a mammal that has captured the curiosity of humans for centuries. There are 49 species of dolphins in total. Now that you’ve read up on the facts next time you see them hopefully you will feel a little more knowledgeable. Through education, research, and rescue, Dolphins can have a peaceful coexistence, cooperation, and communication between marine mammals, humans, and the environment we share with them! If you are ever near Daytona Beach FL stop by and check out Ponce Inlet Watersports and see dolphins up close!
Need help tying a fishing hook? Check out our guide!