Bottlenose Dolphins


Bottlenose dolphins


Dolphins are marine mammals closely related to whales and porpoises. There are almost forty species of dolphin in the world. Yes, 40! They vary in size from 1.2 m (4 ft) and 40 kg (90 lb) and they can go up to 9.5 m (30 ft) and 10 tonnes. This last one is the orca or the killer whale which is indeed considered as being part of the dolphin species.

Dolphins are found worldwide, mostly in the shallower seas and regions of the ocean. The eat mostly fish, squid and small crustaceans and their sense of taste showed they actually prefer certain kinds of fish over others.

They have a well-developed sense of touch, they can hear frequencies ten times or more above the upper limit of adult human hearing and most dolphins even have an acute eyesight, both inside the water and out.

All in all dolphin is often regarded as one of the most intelligent animals, after humans.


Bottlenose dolphin

Bottlenose dolphin

The Bottlenose dolphins are the most common and well-known members of the dolphin family. We are very familiar with them due to their popularity in aquariums and the TV show Flipper. Their curved mouths also gives them the appearance of a permanent smile which instantly make them quite lovable.

They live in groups, called pods, typically formed of 10 to 30 members, but they were also observed combining these pods into herds with as many as 1000 individuals.

The fabulous Bottlenose dolphin: 4:31 min


  • They have different ways of communicating with each other. They can squawk, whistle, snapp their jaws, slap their tails, butt heads and leap into the air as a way of communicating.
  • In the wild they can reach speeds over 30 km (18 miles) an hour.
  • The nasal sacs inside the dolphin's head are what make it possible for the dolphins to vocalize.
  • Each dolphin has its own signature whistle.
  • They use echolocation to determine the shape, size, speed, distance, and location of an object.
  • Their beaks, which are shaped like bottles - hence the name, are usually 7.6 cm (3 inches) long.
  • Females give birth every two to three years. The calves are often born tail first so they don't drown.
  • Their smooth skin feels sort of like an inner tube.
  • Their brains are larger than humans', but the part concerned with intelligence is not.

There have been numerous studies on the level of intelligence of Bottlenose dolphins. One interesting thing that was observed is that some wild Bottlenose dolphins use tools. Some use a marine sponge by placing it on their nose to protect it when they search for food on the sandy beach bottom. Some even cooperate with human fishermen to wrangle fish. They drive mullet schools towards a line of fishermen and let them know via head or tail slaps when and where the fishermen should throw their nets. Incredible, isn't it?


How dolphins help

There have been numerous reports of dolphins helping other trapped marine mammals in fishing nets, beached whales, like the two pygmy whales beached in New Zealand and also seals.

Dolphins Help Young Seal: 2:29 min


They have even been cases of dolphins helping out humans from keeping them afloat or protecting them from sharks. More in the short video below.

Sharks attack people dolphins defend: 2:21 min

Dolphins Protect Diver from Hammerhead Shark: 1:06 min


They are also not afraid to ask for help, showing it takes wisdom to know to ask for help. In the video below you can see the story of a dolphin tangled in fishing line and was looking for help from a group of divers off the coast of Hawaii.

Dolphin rescue Hawaii: 8:32 min


In the same manner as other animals help children with therapy for autistic and disabled children, so do dolphins.

Curacao Dolphin Therapy and Research Center: 9:56 min


Dolphin therapy: 2:48 min


Blind students swim with dolphins: 1:41 min


Rotary and the bottlenose dolphins

The Rotary Dolphin Wishing Well

There is a famous Rotary Dolphin Wishing Well at the Hillarys Boar Harbour in Western Australia which combines public art and community fund raising. It all started with three dolphins, Rajah, Mila and Echo for which there have been numerous unsuccessful attempts to rehabilitate them to their normal life at sea. The dolphins were also endeared to many hundreds of thousands of Australian and overseas visitors. After their mysterious death at Hillarys Boat Harbour in 1999, the idea for a community wishing well was conceived. The net proceeds from the wishing well are being distributed to local and other community projects identified by the two Rotary clubs that created this project.

If you'd like to find out more about this project, you can find out here:


Do you have a dolphin story you would like to share?

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