Amazing facts about Dolphins

Did you know that …

Bottlenose dolphin
  • … dolphins are mammals? They give birth to live young and nurse them with milk.
  • … dolphins have to come up to the surface to breathe? Most dolphins surface every few minutes, but they can stay under water for up to 15 minutes. A dolphin breathes through the blowhole on top of its head.
  • … dolphins evolved from land animals? The land ancestor of the dolphin lived about 50 million years ago and looked a little like a wolf. This animal hunted in shallow waters and by and by adapted itself to life in water: the forelegs became flippers, the hindlegs disappeared and the fluke evolved, the fur disappeared and the nostrils moved to the top of the head.
  • … dolphins use echolocation to navigate and to find food? Dolphins send out clicks that are returned from other objects in the water (just like an echo). This way a dolphin can locate food, other dolphins, predators or rocks.
  • … dolphins live in families? These families are usually led by a female dolphin. The dolphins in a family help each other, for example when raising their young. When travelling or hunting, several families might join together to make a larger group, a school of dolphins.
  • … the largest dolphin is the orca? It can reach up to ten metres in length. For more information on this dolphin, read our text about orcas.
  • … dolphins have a thick layer of fat beneath their skin? This layer of fat is called blubber. As dolphins have no fur, they need the blubber to keep warm. Dolphins in colder waters usually have a thicker layer of fat than dolphins in warm waters.
  • … dolphins are endangered? Humans are the greatest threat to dolphins: environmental pollution, habitat destruction and overfishing are the main reasons why so many dolphin species are endangered. Lots of dolphins get stuck in fishing nets and in some countries, dolphins are deliberately killed because they eat the fish that the fishermen want to catch. If we do not do anything about it, dolphins might soon be extinct.
  • … not all dolphins live in seawater? There are some species that live in fresh water: the river dolphins. Unfortunately, river dolphins are critically endangered and it is even feared that one species, the baiji, has already died out.
  • … you can help to protect dolphins? Educate yourself about these animals and tell others about them. Care more about our environment and start to recycle more things. Raise money for an organisation that helps to support dolphins.