How do bottlenose dolphins reproduce?
Credit: Mike Hill Oxford Scientific Getty Images
Q:

How do bottlenose dolphins reproduce?

A:

Quick Answer

The bottlenose dolphin reproduces through sexual copulation. The gestation period is 12 months. While twins do occur in bottlenose dolphin births, single calves are the most common. A calf remains with its mother from 18 months to 8 years following its birth.

  Know More

Full Answer

Females give birth to calves in shallow water. The birthing process is often assisted by what marine biologists label as a "midwife" dolphin. The dolphin that performs this supportive role is in the majority of instances another female, although males have also been documented performing this function. Immediately after birth, the calf is brought to the water's surface to breathe fresh air. Right after this, the first nursing takes place. Nursing occurs from the mother's mammary glands. Bottlenose dolphins have two nipples that are covered by protective slits on her underbelly. The calf must insert its snout into these slits to attach to a nipple for nursing. Weaning is usually prompted by the mother getting pregnant during a subsequent breeding season.

The age of sexual maturity for bottlenose dolphins is between 5 and 12 years for females. For males it is 10 to 13 years. Dolphins have multiple sexual partners during a mating season. Care and rearing of the calves is done exclusively by the mother.

Learn more about Marine Mammals

Related Questions

  • Q:

    How do dolphins reproduce?

    A:

    Dolphins reproduce by engaging in intercourse during the female's ovulation period. A female may mate with more than one male dolphin during her fertile time, and males may even travel together with one fertile female and take turns mating with her. Competition can get fierce among male dolphins during a female's estrus.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the migration route of common bottlenose dolphins?

    A:

    According to Sea World, the migration routes of bottlenose dolphins vary and are dependent on factors including season, food supply and water temperature. Some coastal dolphin populations that live in colder waters appear to migrate to warmer waters more frequently than warm water populations. For example, dolphins living near the New Jersey shore during summer months migrate to coastal southern shores found in North Carolina.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Are dolphins cold blooded?

    A:

    Dolphins are warm-blooded, not cold-blooded. This is because dolphins are classified as marine mammals, rather than fish. Dolphins maintain consistent body temperature just like other warm-blooded animals.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How big are dolphins when they are born?

    A:

    Baby dolphins, or calves, are approximately 3.8 feet long and weigh around 40 pounds. Baby dolphins gestate for a period between 9 and 17 months, depending on the species. Calves are born live in shallow water and quickly taken to the surface for their first breath.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore