Dolphins belong to the subphylum Vertebrata, meaning that dolphins are animals with backbones. Oceanic dolphins are toothed whales within the family Delphinidae, while river dolphins are included in the family Platanistidae.
Dolphins are usually less than 10 feet in length. They have a beak-like snout called a rostrum and small teeth. The diet of the dolphin is strictly carnivorous and is largely composed of fish and squid, although orcas are capable of hunting large whales. Dolphins are found in oceanic bodies of water globally, save for the Caspian and Aral Seas. Dolphins produce a wide variety of vocalizations to communicate with other dolphins and incapacitate prey.Learn More
There is disagreement among researchers about the intelligence level of dolphins. Previous research portrayed dolphins as keenly intelligent, able to mimic observed actions and quickly reap rewards from learned behaviors. However, newer research portrays dolphins as a species that has superb cognitive abilities yet average animal intelligence.Full Answer >
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 >
Dolphins are close to the top of their food chain with few natural predators other than sharks. When faced by a predator, dolphins often circle, head butt or use their tails to hit the other animal in self defense. According to the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program, sharks often attack dolphins from behind or below as shown by bite scars.Full Answer >
Bottlenose dolphins are occasionally preyed upon by large sharks and killer whales. They are common members of the family Delphinidae, or oceanic dolphins, and live worldwide in tropical and temperate waters. Two species of bottlenose dolphin exist: the common bottlenose dolphin and the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin.Full Answer >