Did you know that dolphins could walk on land millions of years ago? Well, read these dolphin facts to find out more.
Dolphins are one of the most fun to watch and well-known sea mammals today. Especially species like the common bottlenose dolphin.
We all know the usual facts about these animals: for example, their remarkable intelligence, and friendliness to humans. But, there’s still a whole lot of information that dolphin lovers would be interested in knowing. In this post, we’ve gathered some of the most amazing and entertaining dolphin facts for you so do read on to find out more.
25 Amazing Dolphin Facts
1) Male dolphins are called bulls, females are called cows, and juveniles are referred to as calves.
2) Dolphins are strictly carnivores. They won’t eat anything that’s not meat.
3) They can’t breathe underwater like fish. Rather, they breathe through a blowhole on top of their heads.
4) These sea mammals have excellent visual and hearing senses. Using echolocation, they can determine the exact location, shape, and size of objects in the water around them. Also, the organ that controls echolocation is called a melon and it’s located in their heads.
5) Of all mammals they are the only ones that give birth tail first. Other mammal babies come out head first.
6) Dolphins are some of a select group of mammals that live permanently in an aquatic environment. This group includes sea creatures like manatees, walruses, porpoises, and whales.
7) Unihemispheric slow-wave sleep is a phenomenon whereby a creature sleeps with half its brain awake. And yes, dolphins do this too. That’s because they need to keep coming to the surface to breathe even while sleeping. So, half of the brain rests and the other half keeps the dolphin alive.
8) The Orca whale (commonly called killer whale or Orca) is in fact a species of dolphin.
Dolphins are known for their playfulness and acrobatic displays that see them repeatedly jumping clear out of water.
9) Dolphins have a very well defined communication system unique to each pod (group). The high-pitched whistles and clicks they make come out of their blowholes. In fact, they hear, and produce, some of the highest frequency of sound of all mammals.
10) Due to their streamlined and highly energy efficient build, dolphins can swim surprisingly fast. Even up to 25 mph (40 km/h) for long stretches.
The fastest human swimmers go at less than 5.6 mph (9 km/h) tops.
11) You’ll find them in all the seas on Earth, and though most species prefer salt water, a few like the Amazon River Dolphin thrives in fresh/brackish waters.
12) Though they have about 100 teeth depending on the species, they only use it to grab prey. Dolphins don’t chew but prefer to swallow their food whole.
13) Believe it or not, fossil evidence shows that dolphins were once four-footed and that they walked on land millions of years ago. In fact, they share a common ancestor with deer and the hippopotamus!
14) They can look in two directions at the same time by moving each eye separately! Just like chameleons do.
15) There are roughly 43 species of dolphins on Earth today. However, that figure is still changing as more discoveries are being made.
16) Many dolphin species are under threat from human activities especially pollution and bycatch. In fact, species like the Chinese White Dolphin could become extinct soon while the Yangtze River Dolphin is presumably already extinct.
17) Though generally regarded as friendly, these animals can be aggressive and some species in particular can hurt humans seriously, e.g. the killer whale. Thankfully, such cases are extremely rare.
18) Since these animals are mammals, they produce live young that are nursed on their mother’s milk for varying lengths of time depending on the particular species in question.
19) Only the Amazon River Dolphin, or Boto, has hair on its body. Other species have little to no hair at all and are completely smooth-skinned.
20) Dolphin groups (pods) can vary in size from just a few individuals to ‘super pods’ with thousands of individuals.
21) The Orca, or killer whale, is the largest in body size among dolphins. Some can grow up to 9 metres (30 feet) long.
22) Their brains are about 4 to 5 times larger than the brains of other animals of similar size.
23) A dolphin will recognize itself in a mirror. Meaning that they are self-aware.
24) Like cows, they have two stomachs. One stores food and the other one digests it.
25) Dolphins can heal unbelievably well even after terrible wounds that would kill other species. For instance, sharks often attack and bite them severely. But, when they do escape such attacks, they recover and to date, scientists can’t understand this ability to heal so well.
Other mammals would bleed to death from such injuries.
- How would you classify a dolphin? Mammal
- What is the name of the hole on the top of the dolphin’s head? Blowhole
- What is the fin on top of the dolphin called? Dorsal fin
- What is the tail called? Fluke
- Dolphins belong to the cetacean family, which also includes porpoises and whales. Are there more than 50 species of cetaceans? Yes
- Dolphins are used in shows to entertain people. True
- Dolphins eat what type of fish? Tuna
- What is the most common dolphin people know and see? Bottlenose dolphin
- The orca, or killer whale, is the largest dolphin species. True
- Do dolphins have bellybuttons at any time in their life? Yes