Dolphin Facts

1. Although they live in water, dolphins are mammals and breathe air through their blowhole,      which is located at the top of their head. All dolphins must rise to the surface to breathe, some    can only hold their breath for 20 to 30 seconds while others can hold their breath as long as 30 minutes.

2. Dolphins are conscious breathers; they have to actively decide when to breathe. This means  that they must stay awake so that they can breathe. Because of this Dolphins sleep by resting  one half of their brain at a time so that one eye is always open.
 This allows them to rise to the surface to breathe and to protect themselves from predators. In  this way, the mammal is never completely unconscious, but it still gets the rest it needs.

3. Dolphins are highly social, playful, curious and intelligent creatures, living in pods of up to a  dozen individuals. In places with a high abundance of food, pods can merge temporarily,  forming a super pod; such groupings may exceed 1,000 dolphins.

4. Dolphins can establish strong social bonds. Dolphins will stay with injured or ill individuals, even  helping them to breathe by bringing them to the surface if needed.

5. Play is an important part of dolphin culture. Dolphins play with seaweed and play-fight with   other dolphins. At times they harass other local creatures, like seabirds and turtles.

6. Dolphins enjoy riding waves and frequently surf coastal swells and the bow waves of boats.  Occasionally, they playfully interact with swimmers and divers.

7. Dolphins have a streamlined body, adapted for fast swimming. The tail fin, called the fluke, is  used for propulsion, while the pectoral fins (flippers) together with the entire tail section provide  directional control. The fin on a dolphin’s back is called a dorsal fin, in those species  that have one, it provides stability while swimming.

8. The name Dolphin is originally from Ancient Greek, it is derived from the Greek word δελφύς  delphys meaning "womb". The animal's name can therefore be interpreted as meaning "a 'fish'    with a womb.

9. Male dolphins are called Bulls and female dolphins are called Cows. A baby dolphin is called a  calf.

10. Baby dolphins are born tail first and suckle from their mother for up to 4 years. Mother  dolphins produce milk that is extremely rich in fat.

11. Dolphins have good eyesight, both below and above the water. They are able to move their eyes independently, with one looking forward while the other one looks to the side or behind.

12. The food that dolphins eat is different for each species though dolphins eat mostly fish, squid and shrimps. Large dolphins like the Orca, will eat other marine mammals like seals or sea lions and sometimes turtles and sometimes even baby whales. Dolphins will consume on average 10% of their own body weight in food per day.

13. Dolphins communicate using clicks and whistles. Each dolphin has its own signature whistle to identify itself.

14. Dolphins have the ability to see using sound. They use type of sonar called echolocation, locating objects by producing clicking sounds and listening for the echo that bounces back from the objects they encounter. 
It is sometimes called their “special sound” From this they can gather a precise picture giving them information about the size, shape, distance and location of objects around them. 
Dolphins use echolocation to hunt for food and to navigate, especially atnight time or if the water is murky.

15. Dolphins have five fingered flippers. The bones inside the two front flippers of a Dolphin look very much like those of our hands. Flipper bones known as phalanges (fah-LAN-gez) are much longer than those of our fingers as such are made up of more bones than are in our fingers.


Copyright © 2012 Paul Obernay.
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