Saturday 14 March 2015

Mammals: DOLPHIN


The dolphin is one of the most playful and intelligent animals on our planet. Even though dolphins spend their lives in the water, they are not fish, but are mammals. Dolphins can't breathe water like fish, but need to come to the surface to breath air. They are found worldwide, mostly in shallow seas of the continental shelves. Dolphins are very social animals. Many dolphins travel in groups called pods. There are many kinds of dolphins. The most famous are the Bottlenose Dolphin and the Killer Whale.

NOTE: The Killer Whale is a member of the dolphin family. 
killer whale

The largest dolphin is the Killer Whale which grows up to 23 feet long and can weight over 4 tons. The smallest dolphin is the Heaviside's Dolphin which grows to just over 3 feet long and weighs around 90 pounds. Dolphins have long snouts that typically hold around 100 teeth. They also have a blowhole on the top of their head that they use for breathing.

A Dolphin’s Diet

Dolphins eat other smaller fish. They eat squid, too, and some dolphins. Dolphins often hunt together, herding fish into packed groups or into inlets where they can be easily caught. Some dolphins will share their food with the young or let the young catch injured prey as practice. They don't chew their food, they swallow it whole. Dolphins get the water they need from the animals they eat, rather than drinking ocean water. 

A Dolphin’s Behavior

Dolphins are well known for their agility and playful behavior, making them a favorite of wildlife watchers. They like to jump and play and do acrobatic spins in the air. They have been known to surf waves near the beach or follow the wake of ships. Dolphins communicate through chirps and whistles. Many species will leap out of the water to view their surroundings.

How do dolphins sleep?

Dolphins have to sleep. They let half of their brain sleep at a time. While one half sleeps the other half is enough awake to keep the dolphin from drowning. Dolphins may float at the surface while sleeping or swim slowly to the surface every now and then for a breath.

Dolphins Playing

Anatomy Of A Dolphin

  1. Female dolphins are called cows, males are called bulls and young dolphins are called calves.
  2. Dolphins use a blowhole on top of their heads to breathe.
  3. Dolphins live in schools or pods of up to 12 individuals.
  4. Dolphins are carnivores (meat eaters).
  5. Some fishing methods, such as the use of nets, kill a large number of dolphins every year.
  6. Dolphins have excellent eyesight and hearing as well as the ability to use echolocation for finding the exact location of objects.
  7. Dolphins don’t smell very well.
  8. The skin of the dolphin is very delicate and it can easily be damaged by contact with other surfaces.
  9. River dolphins live in fresh water, rather than salt water.
  10. The smallest dolphins are about 4 feet long with the longest being 30 feet long. They can weigh from 90 pounds to more than 11 tons. 
  11. Almost all dolphins have no hair other than a few that they have at birth.
  12. Dolphins can swim at a speed of up to 25 miles per hour for a long time. This is about 3 times faster than the fastest humans in the world.
  13. There are two stomachs for dolphins just like for cows. The first one stores the food for them and the second one is where digestion takes place. 

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