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Bottlenose Dolphin image
Bottlenose Dolphin

Bottlenose Dolphin


Bottlenose Dolphin Baby
Bottlenose Dolphin Baby

Bottlenose Dolphin Habits

Dolphins are very sociable animals that generally live in groups. Their friendly, cooperative behavior is vital to their survival. When a dolphin is sick or injured, its cries of distress summon immediate aid from other dolphins, who try to support it to the surface so that it can breathe.
Dolphins spend a large part of the day playing. They use whistles and clicks to contact each other.
Man and dolphins conflict when they compete for fish; each year, thousands of dolphins drown in nets. Sometimes schools of dolphins get stranded on shore. Conservationists try to return them to deep water but are rarely successful. Scientists believe that schools become stranded when a single dolphin's echo-location system is upset. Its distress calls cause others to follow it to their deaths.

Bottlenose Dolphin Communication

Dolphins use a feature called echolocation to create acoustical pictures of their surroundings. They are able to produce intense, short, broadband pulses of ultrasonic sound (often referred to as clicks) which then bounce off objects in their path. Their hearing is also excellent, even though you have to look very hard to see any evidence of an external ear opening. Sound passes through the dolphins' lower jaw, as well as through the ear canals. The inner ear itself is adapted for hearing ultrasonic frequencies far beyond the range of human hearing - well over 100kHz, which is greater than that of bats.
By sending out clicks a dolphin can learn much about its surroundings by how long it takes for the echo to come back. This tool is used primarily in the detection and tracking of prey. The intensity of sound as a dolphin closes in on its prey is so great that it is thought that they may be actually able to stun fish! So if their echolocation is so powerful, why do they get caught in fishing nets? One theory is that when they know an area well, they don't bother to use their echolocation powers, using some sort of mental map to travel through. Thus when something new is put in their path such as a driftnet, they literally don't see it till it is too late.

Bottlenose Dolphin Breeding

Bottlenose dolphins usually mate in the spring and summer. The females give birth underwater to a single calf 10-12 months later. Several dolphins surround the mother to assist with her delivery and to protect her and the baby from shark attacks. Sharks are attracted to the scene by the blood which is released during birth.
Sometimes the dolphin helpers will tug gently at the baby's tail as it emerges, whistling encouragement to mother and youngster. They swim together as a group to guide the newborn dolphin to the surface for its first breath of air.
The mother nurses her calf for at least 16 months, so she usually breeds only once every two to three years. Each time, she is likely to breed with a different mate.

Bottlenose Dolphin Food & Feeding

Dolphins eat a wide variety of fish, and their hunting behavior varies according to the availability of food. When large schools of fish are present, as many as several hundred dolphins will cooperate in catching the fish by communicating with one another. They drive the fish into dense mass and force them to the surface of the water, making it impossible for the fish to escape. They also emit loud sound to further confuse the prey.
Dolphins usually hunt during the day. However, when fish begin migrating or are scarce, dolphins become nocturnal hunters. They search for squid and bottom-dwelling fish which are active at night.

Bottlenose Dolphin Key Facts

              Height: Length: 11-13 feet
              Weight: 330-440 pounds
             Sexual maturity: About 8 years
             Mating: Mating can occur at any time, but most births take place during the summer
             Gestation: About 12 months
             Number of young: Single calf
            Habit: Sociable
            Diet: A wide range of inshore fish, particularly capelin, anchovy, salmon, and shrimp
            Lifespan: Up to 50 years



  • Dolphins can eat at depths of 6 feet and can stay submerged for up to 15 minutes.
  • Sharks do not prey on bottlenose dolphins as they will attack the sharks.
  • To breathe when they are asleep, females lie on the water's surface with their blowholes exposed to the air; males sleep just below the surface and rise to breathe periodically as a reflex action.
  • Compared to other animals, dolphins are believed to be very intelligent.
  • The Killer Whale (also known as Orca) is actually a type of dolphin.

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