Dolphins are one of the most beloved animals on the planet. They’re playful, intelligent, and adorable – but there’s a lot more to these creatures than meets the eye. For example, Dolphins have amazing navigation skills – they can find their way home from thousands of miles away.
Every person that sees a dolphin for the first time is struck by its cuteness. These playful animals are always drawing people in when they decide to surface, and there’s something about them that makes you just want to hold onto their little pod for dear life! In areas where they congregate, you can even take tours of these beautiful creatures!
Dolphins are amazing animals that have so much magic and mystery in them. And the things we just went over barely scratched at what these creatures are really capable of! Beneath the deep blue sea, there’s an entire world waiting for you to discover. Let’s learn about the additional 23 weird and maybe even disturbing facts about dolphins! Read on and become ready for the moment someone says “tell me about dolphins”
Table of Contents
Ready To Learn About Dolphins?
Dolphin mammals are found worldwide, but most live in warm and tropical oceans. There are even some species that live primarily in rivers!
When people think of dolphins, the bottlenose is usually what comes to mind. This friendly and entertaining animal has been featured in many television shows, including Flipper and Dolphin Tale!
You can even take dolphin tours in areas where they congregate.
1. Dolphins Enjoy Eating Meat
Dolphins are very skillful fish eaters! They have been known to chow down on everything from squid, octopus, and crustaceans all the way up through cephalopods (like cuttlefish). Dolphin diets can vary depending on their location but they always seem content with what’s available in local waters.
The diet of a dolphin can vary depending on its size. Larger dolphins, such as killer whales and bottlenose ones alike eat fish while smaller ones stick to smaller prey like mackerel or fish.
It’s always interesting to watch the dolphins interact with each other in their natural habitat. One of these behaviors that are fascinating to witness occurs when they’re hunting for prey, groups will form a circle around it, trapping the movements of the prey within theirs while others swim through the center to pick off any fish who might try escaping!
Dolphin tactics are highly varied and complex, with some dolphins working to force their prey into a corner or shallow riverbank while others wait patiently for an opportunity. Dolphins do have teeth, but most of them don’t use them to chew their food and swallow it whole, head first, so the scales on the food do not disturb their throat.
2. Dolphins Sleep with Half Their Brain to Watch Predators
The dolphin uses its vigilant side to keep watch while sleeping, and this may be due in part to the need for safety. Unlike humans who simply close one eye at a time like Soap Opera Digest’s resident expert Grantler(who looks something like Justin Bieber), dolphins only shut down half of their brain when they go into deep slumber- not both! This enables them to make sharper turns or escape quickly if necessary by switching easily between different systems depending on what task needs completing most urgently (like watching for predators).
It also signals when to rise to the surface for a fresh breath of air. After approximately two hours, the animal will reverse this process, resting the active side of the brain and awaking the rested half. Crazy right?
While they are sleeping, some dolphins are motionless at the surface of the water. Other times, they might swim slowly. Over a 24-hour period, each side of a dolphin’s brain gets about 4 hours of sleep.
3. Dolphins Live a Long Time
Dolphins can live up to 50 years! The common bottlenose dolphin has been recorded as having a lifespan of 20 – 50, with counting the rings in their teeth giving veterinarians accuracy when determining age.
Things that impact how long a dolphin lives include their habitat, diet, health status, species, geography, and their level of endangerment.
Captive dolphins live shorter lives than those in the wild. This is because they lack certain things, like social structures and an open environment for exploration; but their diet also plays a big part in it!
4. Dolphins have 3 stomachs
Dolphins have three stomachs, which act as storage units for swallowed food. The first chamber receives the food and is responsible for holding it until all of the other two chambers are ready to work on digesting it. The second compartment breaks down any large pieces that were not broken up by chewing or grinding in order to dissolve them. The third compartment is where they will be absorbed through the walls of the small intestine like nutrients.
5. An Adult Dolphin Can Swim 20MPH
The dolphin is one of the fastest animals on Earth, and it can swim up to 25 mph when in a hurry or trying desperately to escape from something. Their normal speed however goes about 7-8 miles per hour.
Dolphins can swim at speeds of up to 45 kilometers per hour (28 mph) using their tail as an extra set of wings. The flukes on each side propel them through the water by generating lift, just like with regular birds’ feathers!
6. Underwater Noise Pollution Is A Problem
The sounds of ships and sonar vessels can be extremely disruptive to the lives of cetaceans. They are often exposed in areas where there is high marine traffic, which causes them great stress that could eventually lead to death if no mitigations are put into place soon enough- this includes nets or barriers at strategic points around their habitat so they do not get stricken by accident while trying to navigate through these loud noises!
7. Dolphins Do Not Have Any Hair Even Though Their Mammals
It’s a well-known fact that dolphins don’t have any hair follicles or sweat glands. This is because these mammals are aquatic and spend most of their time in the water, so it makes sense for them not to be equipped with extra features like those found on landlubbers’ bodies!
The epidermis of a dolphin is 10 to 20 times thicker than the average human’s. It has an outer layer that flakes and peels like we do, but it also contains many different types of oil in order to maintain its natural beauty!
8. What Is A Group Of Dolphins Called?
Dolphins are social creatures that live in pods. The number of dolphins within a group varies, but it’s been estimated there could be anywhere from 2-15 members per pod! Several groups may even join together!
Mother dolphins typically stay together for 3-6 years, and their babies might even return to the mother. Pods can be multi-generational or include both calf pairs as well as juvenile males alongside adult male dolphins!
There are many different types of hierarchy within dolphin pods. For example, bottlenose dolphins have been seen to bite and chase each other while they smack their tails on the water or body-slam any others that get in its way!
9. The Size of Dolphins Varies
The diversity in dolphin size is one of the most fascinating features of these aquatic animals.
While some are as small and sleek as a freshwater fish, other species can be up to six feet long with a wide range of weight differences between males versus female dolphins that live far different lifestyles – including whether they’re wild or domestic!
An average-sized dolphin is about 8 feet long. River dolphins tend to be a little bit shorter; they can’t grow too long as their river habitat means that they have to be able to swim through small spaces and turn around sharp corners.
10. Some Species of Dolphins Are Endangered
The dolphins of the world are an ancient species that have been around since before we were even born! But not all dolphins can be called lucky enough to live in such abundance. The most endangered ones include Maui’s and Hector’s dolphins as well as the Indus River.
The Maui’s dolphin is an endangered species that doesn’t actually live in Hawaii. The biggest threat to their survival? tangled fishing gear!
These adorable dolphins can be found in shallow waters off the coast of New Zealand. They have a unique look with short stocky bodies, black facial markings, and fins that seem like ears!
Indus and Ganges River Dolphins
The Indus and Ganges River dolphin is a rare species that lives in the rivers of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal. Their numbers have been declining due to human activity such as dam construction which destroyed their habitat; they’re also threatened by pollution entanglement with fishing gear or being depleted for food supply because overfishing takes place there.
The Baiji is a fish that was once very common in China. It’s now considered functionally extinct, which means during surveys to count them none were found and there might be some out there but we haven’t found those either yet.
11. Dolphins Can Hold Their Breath for Between 8 to 10 Minutes
Dolphins are some of the most loved sea animals for their playful personalities and high level of intelligence. These mammals are frequently spotted jumping in Florida waters due to their need to come up for air and as a way to communicate. You may be wondering; exactly how long can a dolphin hold its breath? The answer might surprise you!
On average, the adult bottlenose dolphin can hold their breath for a total of between 8 to 10 minutes. They adjust their bodies when needed to help them maximize their time for diving and catching fish.
Dolphins can slow down their circulatory system’s blood flow and heart rate to conserve the energy and oxygen needed to stay underwater. When using their blowholes to take in oxygen, the water sitting on the surface sprays into the air.
12. There Are Over 40 Different Species of Dolphins
The dolphin is actually one of the most common sea mammals to be found in movies, but you may not know that there are over forty-three different species. All six freshwater dolphins can reside anywhere from rivers and lakes all throughout our world!
Dolphin species come in all sorts of colors, from black to white and everything in between. The color is determined by what they eat or where they live!
The best-known species of saltwater dolphin is called the bottlenose dolphin.
13. Dolphins Often Hunt Together For Meals
Dolphins are the ocean’s top predators. They eat all sorts of fish, squid, and shrimp just to name a few! What they can find in their habitat varies from place to place. Wild dolphins are also opportunistic feeders who do take advantage of not only what’s around but also where in order to maximize hunting success some areas have lots more seafood than others.
The dolphin has teeth that are used for holding food and then swallowing it whole. The size of their meals depends on the individual, but they can only eat smaller to medium-sized fish because larger prey would be too much work!
14. Did You Know That There Are Dolphins in the Amazon River?
The Amazon River dolphin is a well-known species of small marine mammals that have been given many different names. They can be pink, grey, or black in color according to their individual makeup and this will depend on the factors such as behavior; how close these capillaries are near enough for sunlight exposure during habits/dietary choices made by them.
Their color can increase when they get excited, in a similar way to the way humans blush. They are around nine feet long and weigh about four hundred pounds when they are fully grown to make them one of the largest species of dolphin. They can live up to thirty years in the wild.
15. Did You Know Dolphin Skin Is Highly Vulnerable?
Dolphin skin is unique in how quickly it regenerates. If you’ve ever petted a dolphin then know that they have this soft and smooth feel like a rock with just enough slipperiness to make things interesting! This softness comes from how quickly the skin cells are able to regenerate on the surface of the dolphin. They slough off their skin all of the time and can regenerate it in as little as two hours.
Dolphin skin cells are so active that they also react to pollutants.
16. They’re Highly Intelligent
The dolphin is one of the most intelligent animals on Earth, and scientists have been able to prove this by using a two-way mirror. When they perform experiments with these dolphins in mind their responses are tracked carefully so that we can see how smart or educated an individual may be compared to other members within its species.
Have you ever put your pets in front of a large mirror? While most animals don’t respond at all, marine mammals are much more interested and will play for hours. We must work together to create a world where all creatures are respected.
17. Dolphins Create Strong & Social Bonds
Dolphins are extremely playful in general but highly intelligent so 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 love to swim in groups and can be found in pods of as many as a thousand different dolphins. This kind of organization is rare. To maintain their society, these wild animals have very social and helpful behaviors.
18. Do You Know What The Largest Species of Dolphin Is?
The Orca, also known as the “killer whale”, is actually a dolphin. The name references that it kills whales, not that it is a whale that kills. Bet you didn’t know these dolphins kill whales.
The Orca is a marine carnivore with teeth that can be up to four inches long. They hunt for seals, sea lions, and whales but if they don’t find their ideal prey then they will settle for fish squid or seabirds.
19. Dolphins Are Smarter Than Humans
Dolphins Have More Brain Capacity Than Humans. A Dolphin’s brain weighs 1600 grams to our 1300. Dolphin brains are large and complex, with an advanced neocortex that allows them to be self-aware. They also have a lot of gray matter in their nuchal regions, where we store our memories!
Beyond being able to recognize themselves in a mirror, as mentioned before, dolphins also demonstrate their intelligence by being able to understand gestures that are highly complex from their human trainers.
20. Dolphins Use Tools
By using tools to better find food, humans evolved and became more efficient than they were before. At the same time as this was happening in our own world; dolphins also developed ways of using their intelligence for purposes other then just swimming around looking pretty!
The dolphins use a variety of tools to protect themselves while foraging at the bottom. They have been seen picking up sponges and putting them on their snouts, like some kind of magic shield that prevents them from getting hurt when they go into dangerous places all by themselves!
21. Fishing Gear Is A Major Threat
The use of long strands or nets to catch fish can cause serious problems for marine mammals, such as dolphins. The accumulation on these items could lead them to get tangled up in tight areas where they are unable to free themselves and eventually die. A more common type is a rope which many times will wrap around an animal’s neck causing death.
22. They Can Dive Up to 1,000 Feet
The dolphin is the only mammal that gives birth with its tail first. In addition, this fish can dive up to 1,000 feet (305 meters) underwater and has an average lifespan of 25-50 years but it is reduced by 50% while held in captivity.
23. Every Dolphin Has a Signature Whistle so Others Can Recognize It
Just like how humans have names so that they can recognize who they are talking to, every dolphin has a distinct whistle that signals their presence to other dolphins.
In addition to this whistle, dolphins also make tons of other sounds. Scientists are studying their language using algorithms and long-term recording devices to try to make out a pattern and decode what the dolphins are saying. Perhaps one day we will uncover some sort of “Rosetta Stone” that helps us understand the world below the sea in a whole new way.
Should Dolphins Be in Captivity?
The dolphin is an extremely intelligent animal that has been shown to have complex lives. This information, makes you think twice about keeping them confined in captivity and increases awareness of their conservation needs!
Plan Your Dolphin-Watching Trip to Florida
Now that you have all of these fascinating dolphin facts, you should consider taking a dolphin-watching tour. Ponce Inlet, FL is an excellent place to see dolphins in their natural habitat.
We offer dolphin-watching tours and almost 100% of the time, we are successful in seeing local pods of dolphins. Years of experience have perfected the art of locating dolphins.