The Wholphin is not a myth, it actually exists as these facts show.
In this world there exist some unique animals that pop up maybe once in many generations and one of them is the Wholphin.
This is a rare sea mammal that came into existence as a result of crossbreeding between a male False Killer Whale and female Common Bottlenose Dolphin. Just as its name suggests, it is a product of the two marine mammals. Because of the big difference in size between false killer whales and bottlenose dolphins, many people are fascinated at how the two managed to mate.
The false killer whale scientifically is a member of the dolphin family. In fact, both these animals are members of the toothed whale suborder.
Although several people claim that they have seen wholphins in the wild, this is an extremely rare species and those that have been born are held in captivity. The oldest member of the species is known as Kekaimalu and is held captive at Sea Life Park in Hawaii.
The big difference in size between the False Killer Whale and the Bottlenose Dolphin makes many people wonder how they mated in the first place.
Because of their uniqueness or the fact that they are rare, you are likely to encounter a lot of false information regarding the wholphin.
Here are the facts.
1) Life History
The first officially documented wholphin was born in a Tokyo SeaWorld. It was a male but he died after about six months.
On American soil, the first wholphin was Kekaimalu. This female wholphin was the first to survive and she went on to have three calves. Kekaimale was born at Sea Life Park in Hawaii on May 15, 1985. The name she bears means “from the peaceful ocean”.
Although there are reports of some in the wild, there are no confirmed sightings so far.
2) Physical Characteristics
The wholphin certainly did not want to disappoint either of its parents. It achieved this by blending the physical characteristics of both breeds. For instance, it has a dark gray skin, a color combination that is just between the black skin of a false killer whale and the gray tone of the bottlenose dolphin.
Another intermediate feature of the hybrid is its dental formula. A wholphin has a total of 66 teeth, a figure that is between false killer whale (44 teeth) and bottlenose dolphin (88 teeth).
When it comes to body size, a healthy wholphin can grow up to between 12 and 22 feet. This is also an average of both its parents sizes.
Their average weight is approximately 600 pounds. Although, the wholphin does have a faster growth rate than that of a normal bottlenose dolphin. It can attain the size of a one-year dolphin within a few months after being born.
Just a few months after birth, a Wholphin is already the size of a one-year old Bottlenose dolphin.
Wholphins that were born in captivity are fed on their mother’s milk till the age of nine months. Regarding solid food, they mainly survived on frozen fish.
Under normal circumstances, most hybrids are known to be sterile. However, wholphins seem to be a rare kind of hybrid as it has defied the norm.
Since being kept in captivity, Kekaimalu (a female wholphin) has given birth to three calves. One calf died just after some days after birth, while another one lived for nine years. Though this offspring was also fathered by a false killer whale.
It is assumed that her first two calves died because she gave birth at an early age.
The maturity age of a wholphin is approximately nine years.
Wholphins can mate successfully with either of their parents’ kind.
5) Living Environment
There is inadequate information regarding the lives of wholphins in the wild. However, researchers assume that they can thrive well in an environment where bottlenose dolphins and false killer whales live.
Researchers believe that a healthy wholphin has a lifespan of 40 years.
There are presently two wolphins (Kekaimalu and her daughter Kawili Kai) in captivity at Sea Life Park, Hawaii, USA.