With an ever-smiling face, friendly chatter, amiable behavior, and many a times a real “friend, indeed”; bottlenose dolphins could easily be our “dogs” of the ocean. Known to be friendly with fishing boats and having helped many humans in distress, these mammals have been so easy to train and interact with that they have even starred in television series, movies, and oceanarium shows.
Known by the scientific name, Tursiops truncatus, these carnivorous mammals reside in oceans and can be found in almost all the oceans on our planet. With a life that spans 20 to 40 years, they are considered to be human-friendly and are seen to follow fishing boats and feed from leftovers.
Did you know that a bottlenose dolphin (1100 lbs) is twice the weight of a standard piano (500 lbs), much slower (7 mph) than a car (60 mph), and approximately about one-third (10-14 feet) the length of a school bus (37 feet)? Always found in groups that range from10 to 15 members, these herds are known as “Pod”.
Bottlenose dolphins are considered great swimmers and seem to love surfing. Sometimes they can reach speeds of up to 18 miles (30 kmph). They are also known to ride and surf in the waves created by boats or other shipping vessels, whales, and sometimes near shores.
Did you know that this cetacean is the most studied in this group? They have been studied in their natural habitat, as they live near coasts, as well as in captivity as they adapt well to the oceanarium. They are even known to adapt to human activities and partake in cooperative hunting with fishermen!
Bottlenose dolphins are considered to be efficient sonar radars. They use echolocation to track their targets and are capable of making over 1000 clicking sounds in one second. These ultrasounds travel in the ocean and when they hit any object bounce back to the sender. With this echo, the dolphin is able to indentify various aspects of the target, including its shape, size, and location.
These dolphins are also great communicators. Although researchers have been unable to explicitly identify them, it is believed that they make unique sounds that are used by others to identify each dolphin! Their communication, through a sequence of squeaky sounds, is used to call for and give assistance when one of them is injured.
Although bottlenose dolphins are not considered an endangered species, they were once hunted for their oil and meat. Today, dolphin hunting has diminished; but these creatures do get critically injured by getting entangled in nets in tuna fishing grounds. Sometimes, getting killed!
Bottlenose dolphins need to remain closer to the ocean surface to get their share of oxygen; however, they are capable of swimming up to 260 meters below the ocean surface and can stay underwater for up to 15 minutes at a stretch, if needed.
Dolphins are mammals in every sense. They give birth to their young and the mother is known to feed milk to the young calves. Dolphins have mammary glands! Did you know dolphins are delivered tail first?
Bottlenose dolphins share more than friendship with humans; they are also warm blooded. They have an internal temperature of around 36 degrees; and to ensure that they maintain this temperature at all times, their body is covered with a thick layer of fat right under their skin. This is called blubber, thanks to which they can maintain their temperatures even during cold weather.
Dolphins have proven to be highly intelligent but it is not sure whether that has any relation to their large brains that weigh around 1500 to 1600 grams.