Dolphins give birth to live calves while staying in relatively shallow waters. Normal delivery results in a calves being born tail (or fluke) first.Know More
As marine mammals, dolphins gestate live young and give birth to live calves that are prepared to breathe and swim shortly after birth. Gestation periods vary for different dolphin species; bottlenose dolphins gestate their young for 12 months, while spinner dolphins give birth after 11 months. Typically, dolphins give birth to only one young at a time. According to the University of Utah, a healthy adult female bottlenose dolphin will have one calf every 2 to 4 years. Similarly, spinner dolphins have one calf every two years, according to Texas Tech University.
Many dolphin species engage in mating in summer months; because gestation periods are about a year long, most dolphins are born in the summertime as well. After birth, mothers nurse their young calves. The calves will then swim with their mothers' pods, which are dolphin social groups.
Though mothers may not nurse their young for the entire duration, most dolphin calves will stay with their mothers for 3 to 6 years. Newborn dolphins are relatively small, usually three or four feet long, and they measure 8 to 12 feet once fully grown.Learn more about Marine Life
Some dolphins can jump as high as 25 feet above the water's surface. Juvenile spotted dolphins have been observed jumping 15 feet. Spinner dolphins get their name from the fact that they spin while jumping. Spinner dolphins can complete seven revolutions in the air before hitting the water.Full Answer >
Dolphins are equipped with blowholes on the crowns of their heads through which they breathe air when they reach the surface of the water. They are capable of holding their breath for up to 10 minutes.Full Answer >
Evolutionary biologists believe that dolphins emerged 20 to 25 million years ago during the early Miocene period. Modern species may trace to kentriodontids, which are small-toothed whales believed to have the echolocating ability as modern dolphins do.Full Answer >
In spite of the bottlenose dolphin's gentle appearance, All About Wildlife explains that these animals are in fact apex predators. While great white sharks, tiger sharks and bull sharks occasionally prey on young dolphins, bottlenose dolphins are known to attack and kill sharks. All About Wildlife states that bottlenose dolphins kill or injure sharks by using their snouts to ram the sharks' vulnerable gills.Full Answer >