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How would you describe a dolphin?

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Quick Answer

Dolphins are types of cetacean mammals that are closely related to porpoises and whales. They range in size from 4 feet to 30 feet and weigh up to 10 tons. Dolphins have a single blowhole, cone-shaped teeth and a pronounced beak. Although dolphins don't have body hair, they have hair follicles that may perform sensory functions. Dolphins are typically gray in color and live in both pelagic and coastal water.

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Full Answer

Dolphins have streamlined bodies that are adapted for fast swimming. The fluke, or tail fin, provides for propulsion, while the pectoral fins are utilized for directional control. The dolphin's diet consists mainly of squid and fish. Dolphins swallow their food whole instead of chewing. Dolphins have excellent eyesight and hearing that is 10 times stronger than humans. In addition, all dolphins are capable of utilizing echolocation. Dolphins have a well-developed sense of touch and have a sense of taste, despite not having a sense of smell.

Dolphins are very social creatures. They typically live and travel together in groups of between two and 40, with some dolphin pods containing as many as several hundred dolphins. Dolphins rely on social interaction to hunt and defend themselves against predators. The strength of dolphins' social bonds is illustrated by the fact that dolphins stay with other dolphins that are injured or sick and even carry them to the surface to help them breathe. The bottlenose dolphin is perhaps the most well-known dolphin species. Other dolphin species include spinner dolphin, common dolphin, striped dolphin, dusky dolphin and killer whale.

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    What is the life cycle of a dolphin?

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    Dolphins reproduce every one to three years, with the gestation period lasting approximately 12 months. Calves are born fully formed and are able to swim alongside their mothers immediately. They leave their mothers between the ages of 3 to 8, staying until they learn how to feed, forage and socialize. Dolphins reach reproductive age between the ages of 5 to 10 and have an average life expectancy of 40 years.

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    How many manatees are left in the world?

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    As of January 2014, there are at least 4,831 manatees in the state of Florida; outside of Florida little is known about the manatee population as they are only found in small pockets. This makes counting the world population of manatees difficult.

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    Is a dolphin a carnivore, an herbivore or an omnivore?

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    Dolphins are carnivores. They eat a variety of fish, especially flying fish. Catching these flying fish sometimes requires the dolphins to leap out of the water.

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    What are enemies of the dolphin?

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    Although rare, sharks have been known to attack and kill dolphins, while there has also been evidence of killer whales eating dolphins, says the National Aquarium, a website run by Bio Expedition. Since dolphins are on the top of the food chain, few animals are considered as their enemies.

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