Facts About Dolphins

Dolphins are one of the most popular animals, but besides how cute they are what other dolphin facts do you really know? Did you know, for example, that a killer whale is really a dolphin? We thought not.

Dolphins are related to both whales and porpoises, but they are physically different from these marine mammals. There are a few “whales” that are really dolphins, including the killer whale, or orca, the false killer whale, the long-finned and short-finned pilot whale, the melon-headed whale and the pygmy killer whale.

Some species of dolphins live in freshwater and some live in saltwater, but dolphins breath air, just like you and me. One of the most frequently misstated dolphin facts is that the dolphin is a fish. While there is in fact a dolphin fish, that is not the animal most people associate with the word dolphin. That animal is most likely the bottlenose dolphin, which is abundantly found in oceans all over the world.

There are nearly 40 different species of dolphins, and they are generally divided into two categories. Most dolphin species are oceanic dolphins, and they can be found in all of the oceans of the world. The other category of dolphins is known as river dolphins.

River dolphins are not as common as their oceanic cousins, and many of them are endangered because their natural habitat is being polluted or destroyed. They live in freshwater rivers in different areas around the world including the Amazon River and major rivers in India and Pakistan.

Interesting dolphin feeding facts:

Dolphins are carnivores, and they usually eat live fish – cod, mackerel, squid, and sometimes crustaceans like crabs and shrimp. Dolphins hunt for their food using echolocation.

Echolocation is a way dolphins have of using sounds to locate objects, like other fish, in the water around them. They send out a signal or click, and based upon how long it takes the echo to return to them, the dolphin can determine what is in the surrounding waters.

Dolphins are also highly social animals and frequently hunt for food in groups. A pod of perhaps 10-15 dolphins will surround a school of fish during these hunting forays and then they will take turns swimming through the trapped fish, eating as they go.

A few other fun dolphin facts:

• Dolphins can hold their breath for up to 30 minutes, although generally they only submerge for 5-15 minutes at a time.

• Dolphins have been known to dive to depths of up to 200 feet.

• Dolphins communicate with one another through a variety of clicks, whistles and screeches, all with their own distinctive sound.

• A dolphin can eat up to 5 percent of its own body weight every day. That means that a 1000 pound dolphin eats 50 pounds of food.

• As mammals, dolphins are warm-blooded, and there body temperate is 98 degrees, just like us!