Average lifespan in the wild: 45 to 50 years
Size: 10 to 14 ft (3 to 4.2 m)
Weight: 1,100 lbs (500 kg)
Group name: Pod
Dolphins are marine mammals that are closely related to whales and porpoises. There are almost forty species of dolphin. Dolphins are descendants of terrestrial mammals. The ancestors of the modern day dolphins entered the water roughly fifty million years ago.
What does a dolphin look like?
Dolphins have a streamlined body, adapted for fast swimming. The tail fin, called the fluke, is used for propulsion, while the fins together with the entire tail section are there for control. The dorsal fin, in those species that have one, provides stability while swimming. The basic coloration patterns are shades of grey usually with a lighter underside, often with lines and patches of different hue and contrast. Unlike most mammals, dolphins do not have hair.
What is special about the dolphins senses?
Most dolphins have acute eyesight, both in and out of the water, and they can hear frequencies ten times or more above the upper limit of adult human hearing.
They do have a sense of taste and show preferences for certain kinds of fish. Since dolphins spend most of their time below the surface, tasting the water could function like smelling.
Where do dolphins live?
Dolphins live in all oceans of the planet and even in some important rivers. While not all species of dolphins live everywhere, there is a species for each environment.
Specifically one of the best known species, the bottlenose dolphin lives in every ocean of the world except the Arctic and the Antarctic oceans. The Atlantic spotted dolphin, lives all over the tropical and temperate areas of the Atlantic Ocean avoiding the Artic and Antartic regions. The Pink Dolphin lives in the Amazon river.
What does a dolphin eat?
Dolphins feed mainly on fish. The diets of dolphins in the wild tend depend on the area in which they're living as well as the time of the year. Regular treats are several fish species, squid and octopus. Dolphins swallow their food whole, without chewing. They use the muscles at the back of their tongue and throat to squeeze the salt water out and the fish down.
What sound does a dolphin make?
Dolphins are capable of making a broad range of sounds. They are almost constantly making sounds of one of two kinds: communicative or navigational.
Dolphins communicate with their whistles and burst-pulsed sounds, it is unknown why.
Why do dolphins jump?
Dolphins occasionally leap above the water surface, sometimes performing acrobatic figures. Scientists are not certain about the purpose of the acrobatics. Possibilities include locating schools of fish by looking at above-water signs like feeding birds, communicating with other dolphins, dislodging parasites or simple amusement.
Can dolphins surf?
Play is an important part of dolphin culture. Dolphins play with seaweed and play-fight with other dolphins. Dolphins enjoy riding waves and frequently surf coastal swells and the bow waves of boats, at times “leaping” between the dual bow waves of a moving catamaran. Occasionally, they playfully interact with swimmers.
What makes dolphins so smart?
Well, their brains, of course. Dolphins have large brains for their bodies. A bottlenose dolphin is second only to humans in the ratio of brain size to body size. Researchers have also pointed to the parallels in the organization of dolphin and primate brains as more evidence of high intelligence in dolphins. Some have gone so far as to suggest that dolphins actually have a language that humans simply cannot comprehend.
Did you know?
Like cows, dolphins have more than one stomach. They have two in fact: one that stores food and one that digests.
A common hunting method among dolphins is to herd a school of fish into a tight ball, then take turns plowing through the center, feeding.
When dolphins sleep, they only shut down one hemisphere of their brain, remaining conscious enough to breathe and look out for predators.
Dolphins love to play. They often play with seaweed, or play-fight with one another — they even harass other sea creatures. Surfing coastal swells is also a method of play.
Unlike any other mammal, dolphin babies are born tail first.
Dolphins have very little sense of smell.
A mother dolphin will stay with a calf for two to three years.
Dolphins, like cows, have two stomachs — one for storing food and one for digesting it.
Some dolphins have been known to dive as deep as 1,000 feet.
A dolphin's dorsal fin is as distinctive as a person's face.
Some dolphin species can swim up to 25 miles an hour for long periods, more than three times faster than the best human swimmers.
In the wild, dolphins can live to be 50 years old, although the average age is 17 years.
Some dolphins can hold their breath for as long as 30 minutes, while others have to breathe every 20 seconds.
Bonds form between individual dolphins that may last a lifetime. They've been observed physically supporting sick or dying pod members.
Dolphins can be quite aggressive and even brutal. Dominant members of a pod have been known to abuse weaker members.
Thanks to a very sensitive retina that efficiently gathers light, a dolphin can see as well beneath the water as above it.
A dolphin's brain, in relation to the size of its body, is larger than the brains of chimpanzees and great apes.
An adult dolphin may consume 30 pounds of fish or more in a single day.
Dolphins swallow fish whole, despite the 100 teeth in their mouths. The teeth are used to grasp prey.
Dolphins can jump as high as 20 feet out of the water.
The largest member of the dolphin family is the killer whale, which can grow to 30 feet long.
A dolphin's skin is extremely delicate and easily injured by rough surfaces — much like human skin.
The largest of the freshwater dolphins is the boto, found in the Amazon River. It can grow 10 feet long.
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