Check out some interesting facts about dolphins
Dolphins are the most playful creatures and loving marine mammals. That’s why they can be named ‘fish with a womb.’ The size of the dolphins ranges from 5 ft to 31 ft & the weight ranges from 50kg to 10 tonnes.
The word “Dolphin” originated from the Greek word (delphís) related to the womb.
After reading the name “fish with a womb,” a question may arise in your mind. Are dolphins fish? But the answer is No! They are mammals, just like humans.
They are interesting creatures of the waters, which is why today this article will tell you a lot about dolphins.
So, let’s begin?
The temperature of dolphins
Dolphins are warm-blooded mammals and maintain a body temperature of around 96 degrees Fahrenheit to 98 degrees Fahrenheit. Dolphins prefer to live in 50 degrees Fahrenheit to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
They can live outside the water for 8-10 minutes, but the atmosphere must be cold as they are warm-blooded, it gets difficult for them to maintain body temperature.
According to the scientific classification, the kingdom of dolphins is Animalia, the phylum of dolphins is Chordata, and they belong to the Mammalia class.
Their Order, Infraorder, & Parvorder are Artiodactyla, Cetaceans & Odontoceti, respectively. The oceanic dolphin family is Delphinidae, whereas the river dolphin family is Platanistidae and Iniidae.
The origin of dolphins, or Delphinus, is believed to have started with the Pakiectus, a four lawful, land walking mammal. The Pakiectus dates back to roughly 50 million years ago. Over the 50 million times of elaboration, the ancestors of dolphins acclimated from being terrestrial.
Dolphins have a smooth and rubber-like body structure, which is very vulnerable and soft. Mostly the color of their body is black, grey, and white.
They have teeth but don’t use them to chew their food. Instead, they use their teeth to catch and hold their prey. They swallow their food as a whole and store it in the second part of the stomach.
Dolphins breathe air through the lungs using blow holes that work as a nose for them. Like a human’s nose, the blowhole is on the upper part of their body.
Have you ever wondered how many species are there? There are many species of dolphins, but there are only two types of dolphins: marine dolphins and river dolphins.
There are over 40 dolphin species at present and around 7 species of porpoises ( the exact number is discussed below). Porpoises are classified into six families.
Porpoises are not dolphins, but they look like dolphins, breathe like dolphins. There are seven members in the porpoise family. The porpoise family is under the group of Phocoenidae.
They are the smallest whales. Porpoises are aquatic mammals, but they are shy compared to dolphins; they don’t approach people and are not as friendly as dolphins.
There are eight species of porpoise currently, and around 42 dolphin species exist. Some well-known dolphin species are Bottlenose Dolphin, Amazon River Dolphin, Spinner Dolphin, Maui dolphin are a few examples of species of dolphins.
Various species of Dolphins live in brackish or salty water, but in some cases, they live in the freshwater of oceans and seas.
Examples of freshwater dolphins are Amazon river dolphins, South Asian dolphins, Yangtze river dolphins, or Baij.
How dolphins prey
Dolphins’ favorite food is small fish, shrimp, and squid. Orcas prey on white sharks to eat their liver. Dolphins and whales capture their food through echolocation. This process is also known as Sonar.
Echolocation or Sonar helps the dolphins see underwater and produce sound waves that help them capture their food. This method is called Corraling, where dolphins chase fish to eat.
Dolphins reproduce but don’t lay eggs.
Another characteristic of dolphins is that they reproduce sexually. Female dolphins ovulate 2 to 7 times in one year. And instead of laying eggs, dolphins give birth to live young dolphin calves and feed them with milk.
Dolphins never give birth to twins, and many dolphins species can get pregnant after a 3 to 5-year span, but some take 5-7 years depending upon the maturity.
Male dolphins are called bulls, whereas female dolphins are called cows. The bulls and the cow’s intercourse to produce their calves.
Now, let’s take a look at some interesting facts about dolphins:
1. Did you know Dolphins have two stomachs?
Dolphins have 2 guts, in one part they store their food, and the other part is used for digestion. They don’t chew their food, so they need space to store it. The digestion needs time as they swallow as a whole without breaking into smaller parts.
2. Dolphins are great swimmers
The swim speed range for most dolphins species is from 3 miles up to 7 miles/hour, but in some cases, they reach 20 miles per hour.
3. Dolphins are known to have a higher IQ and friendly nature
Dolphins are clever than other animals. They are just right after humans in terms of the ratio size of the brain to the body. They are intelligent and friendly compared to land mammals.
4. Dolphin’s teeth set is quite remarkable
They have around 100 teeth in just one set that lasts for their entire lifespan. And yet they don’t use their teeth to chew. They use their teeth to hold their food and catch their prey.
5. Dolphins have specially designed eyes
They are specially designed and can see below and above the sea. The operculum is the name given to the flap above their eyes.
6. Dolphins have very soft skin
They have soft and rubbery skin that is very vulnerable to natural environment elements which means they get hurt easily but another interesting part is they get healed very quickly as well.
There are no hair or sweat glands on their skin, and the outer layer of there is skin is much thicker than the epidermis of humans.
7. Named themselves through the different sounds of Whistles:
They communicate through whistles and clicks. They don’t use language but make sounds and noise to talk. Every dolphin has its whistle sound that is scientifically proven. They use their whistles as names.
8. Two Brains Hemisphere
This is an amazing fact compared to other dolphin facts that they have two brains hemisphere just like humans but has more capacity than humans because even when they are sleeping, half part of their brain remains alert.
9. Dolphins can live up to a “half-century”
Yes, you got that right, dolphins can live up to 50 years even though the average lifespan is about 17 years.
Some other interesting facts about dolphins:
They neither have a sense of smell nor the sense of taste.
They are carnivores as they eat fish and other marine animals.
They kill sharks with the help of their nose.
They dive 1050ft deep under the water.
They bite only when they are angry or when they feel threatened.
They never attack humans in the first place.
They travel in pods with around 1000 dolphins together, consisting of their complete family of grandparents, siblings, parents, cousins, to stay safe as they feel protected when they are in the pod.
Now that you know some interesting facts about dolphins, let’s check up on some species of dolphins:
Bottlenose dolphins are the most common dolphins, and they get the name Bottlenose dolphin from their snout. They are the most known and amazing species of dolphin for aquarium shows.
There are around 6,00,000 bottlenose dolphins extant. Talking about predators of bottlenose dolphins except for humans, sharks and killer whales prey on them.
Bottlenose dolphins usually live in tropical and temperate waters. They also get injured through fishing gear and hoop nets. Bottlenose dolphin have a lifespan of 30-60 years. Usually, their length and weight are 13ft and 1300 pounds, respectively.
Orcas – The largest dolphin
The black and white body dolphin is called the orcas. They are the largest species of dolphins; another well-known name for them is killer whales. According to the studies, orcas don’t kill humans unless they get attacked first or feel endangered.
There were approximately 50,000 killer whales in 2020. Orcas are usually found in the ocean. They prey on white sharks.
Māui is the smallest dolphin in the world. They have a short body, & black marks on their body & look like hector species. Their length is around 1.7m, and their weight is just 50kgs. They live up to 20-30 years. At present, they are only found on the north coast.
Amazon River Dolphins
These dolphins live only in freshwater. Their length is around 10feet, and they are also one of the largest dolphins. Amazon River Dolphins are also known as boto or pink river dolphins.
They live in pods mostly as it protects them from predators. They are called pink river dolphins because they are pink in color.
They are short dolphins compared to other dolphins and are found in tropical water. They live along with the coastal areas, islands, and seas. They stay 8-10 minutes underwater.
And as the name says, they are great spinners. They love to spin, play, & jump. According to scientists, there are many reasons for their multiple spins, but most important is having fun.
This is a rare dolphin species, and according to research, they have become extinct due to human activities. Only a few dolphins are left of these species. They prefer to live in freshwater oceans.
But at present, they can be found only in the Yangtze river of china. Before becoming extinct, the population of 3000-5000 baijis was there. They live in Dongting Lake and Poyang lake.
They live near the seacoast and in rivers. The Irrawaddy dolphin was declared a separate species after 2005. They are endangered species, and just like Baiji, they are getting extinct.
South Asian river dolphin
These dolphins live in the Ganges river and are found mostly in the southern part of the world. They only live in deep and freshwater. They migrate according to the water level.
Another rare and small dolphin. They live up to 25 years. They are found only in the south island and oceans of New Zealand. Maui is their subspecies. Their diet includes crustaceans, small fishes, and squid.
How and Why do humans capture dolphins?
Dolphins are larger than marine animals, so their most significant threat is pollution, boat strikes, or tourism, except for sharks like a bull, dusky, tiger, white. Pollution due to chemicals harms water bodies that are their shelter, and also pollution results in climatic change both prove to be a threat to them.
All the things mentioned above are related to humans either directly or indirectly; besides, people hunt and kill them.
Dolphinarium is the aquarium for dolphins. People capture them and keep them for research or entertain the public through the shows.
The most brutal reason I have come to know is that they are captured and killed to serve in restaurants.
There are various methods to capture marine life. Like Seine net is a large net that traps the animals in them. Hoop nets are used when a dolphin is swimming near the boat, and drive hunt is also used for the same but specifically when some pod of animals is there.
Although dolphins swim just like fish, they are not fish. They are mammals, and just like other mammals, they give birth, eat, breathe, feed their calf, ovulate, sexually reproduce, and are intelligent, help others have the ability to sonar.
Summing up the article by appreciating them for their friendly and caring nature. In a nutshell, the dolphin is one of the cutest creatures and helps humans when they see anyone in need.
We should also do the same for them by improving our bad habits that harm marine life. We should not pollute their habitats like oceans, seas, rivers, and other water bodies to protect our loving marine mammals.