Dolphins of the Deep

Let’s start the week with a “happy” posting — about dolphins.  They are one of the most beloved of all marine animals.

Watching these beautiful creatures swim next to your boat is an exciting opportunity to see dolphins up close!


34+ Members of Marine Dolphins

Today, I’m going to specifically write about the marine dolphins.  As a point of interest, there are river dolphins that inhabit the Yangtze (China), Ganges (India) and Amazon (Brazil) Rivers.

Two of the most well-known marine dolphins are:

  • the Orca, or Killer Whale, and
  • the Bottlenose Dolphins

We probably know more about dolphins than about any other mammal in the ocean because of the popular TV series, “Flipper,” and our visits to Sea-World.

Things You Might Not Know About Dolphins 

The birth of a single dolphin takes 12 months!  The infant is born tail first, probably an adaptation to living in water.  Immediately after birth, “aunts” or other group members, help the baby to the surface for its first breath.

The calves live with their mothers for several years; they may continue to take mother’s milk for (up to) 5 years.  They are most often seen swimming under their mother’s tail, close to the milk supply.

Calves use this extended time to learn their place in the social order of their group.

Dolphins living close to shore tend to live in smaller groups than the dolphin groups living in open ocean.

Fascinating Facts About Orcas

After studying these mammals for 25+ years, biologists have discovered that there are 2 distinct groups:  transients and residents.

Residents live in a distinct area (such as:  Orcas living off the west coast of Canada and the US).  Their pod stays in that area for their entire lives and they eat fish.

Transient Orcas, as their name implies, travel wherever food leads them and they live off other marine animals: seals, etc.

Enemies of the Dolphin

The most dangerous enemy is man.

Sharks occasionally attack dolphins.  The bottlenose pod may act together to try to kill the shark or drive them away.  You can see teeth marks on some bottlenose — their battle scars.

Because of their intelligence and adaptability, dolphins are delightful to see.  “A Day with the Dolphins” is a popular activity on the west coast; dolphins and humans swim together!

‘Caribbean Locals’ is used by permission of Vantage Point Graphics


This blog is a companion to my website:

Published in: on June 20, 2011 at 12:18 pm  Comments Off on Dolphins of the Deep  
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