FACTS ABOUT DOLPHINS

Dolphins are one of the most graceful creatures on the planet. They are extremely intelligent and are able to solve complex problems, live in complex

societies and are able to self-recognize. There are almost 40 species of dolphins across the world oceans. The most common in Moreton Bay is the Inshore Bottlenose Dolphin, with a population of 600 to 800 dolphins. Groups (or pods) of bottlenose dolphins range from 1 to over 1,000 but most commonly vary between 2 and 15. Dolphins are not always found in groups and may live alone for long periods.

The inshore bottlenose dolphin and other marine life are constantly in danger from human activities. An increasing number of threats to dolphins from Human activities have become evident in recent years. These threats include stray fishing line and nets, water based recreational activities, noise pollution and habitat loss through urban development. One of the most significant threats is pollution by marine debris where rubbish is carelessly discarded in nearby cities and then washes through waterways, ending up in rivers and oceans.

  • The bottlenose dolphin’s name is derived from their short stubby rostrum, which looks a bit like a bottle. Despite their name it is not actually a nose, as they do not breathe from it.

  • Like humans, dolphins are mammals; they are warm blooded, breathe air and give birth to live young, which nurse on milk produced from their mother and they have hair when they are born.

  • Dolphins use echolocation (sonar) to navigate under water and find their prey. This is a particularly efficient way for them to locate objects in the sea as sound travels much further underwater than in air.

  • In captivity, they generally consume around 5-8% of their body weight in fish each day, so adults usually eat between 7-15kg of food daily although they have been known to eat more than this.

  • Dolphins have cone shape teeth to grasp fish easily. They do not chew their food like we do, but swallow fish head first and whole. Their stomach carries out the entire digestive process.

  • Bottlenose dolphins can weigh up to 350kg and can grow to between 2.5m and 4m long.

  • Dolphins are extremely social animals and communicate with each other by body posture, language, touch, slapping tails or their body on water surfaces, bubble blows and chemical secretions.

  • Dolphins do not have a voice box. Sounds come from within their blowhole on the top of their heads, not from their mouths.

  • Life expectancy of a bottlenose dolphin is around 30-40 years in the wild. Some dolphins have been known to live for over 60 years in captivity.

  • They can swim up to speeds of 37 km/h but generally cruise at a speed of about 10 km/h.

  • Female dolphins are sexually mature at between 8-10 years of age, and males at around 10-12 years.

  • Female dolphins give birth every 2 to 4 years and closely associate with their young for many years after they’re born, particularly with female young. The gestation period is 12 months.

  • Dolphins are conscious air breathers. That means that they need to remember to come up for their next breath of air. When they need to sleep they only shut down one half of their brain at a time. They rest one half while the other half stays active, alert for predators. This also allows the dolphin to remember to breathe.

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