Dolphins are hard not to love – they’re smart, friendly, fun to watch as they frolic in the waters, and simply adorable since it looks like they’re always smiling.
Dolphins are also fascinating mammals, and here are some facts about them that make them even more interesting.
1. There Are Dozens of Species
Almost 40 different type of dolphin species exist. That includes several species that actually live in rivers or lakes.
2. It Takes A Lot of Fish To Feed One Dolphin
Holy mackerel, do dolphins like to eat! When it comes to fish, a typical dolphin can scarf down approximately 4 to 9 percent of its body weight every single day.
That can amount to as much as 50 pounds of fish for the larger dolphins.
3. A Killer Whale Is Actually a Dolphin
Although their name is misleading, killer whales aren’t whales at all – they’re really dolphins.
4. They Have Each Other’s Backs
It’s been well documented that dolphins, who travel in pods, protect one another when they are injured. Dolphins have been known to try to prop an injured dolphin up in the water and have stayed with one of their pod members until they die after an injury.
Dolphin pods can be larger than 1,000 in number. That’s a great support system for each member.
5. They Have Been Known To Protect Humans Too
Incredible footage shows a humpback whale protecting a marine biologist from a 15-foot tiger shark.
Posted by The Telegraph on Wednesday, 10 January 2018
Whether it’s curiosity or some other reason altogether, dolphins have been known to help humans in distress. They’ve been known to save swimmers from sharks and lead rescuers to people in need. Although it might seem like fiction you would see on an old episode of “Flipper,” it has really happened.
6. Humans are the Biggest Threat To Dolphins
Dolphins don’t have many natural enemies. Although many people love dolphins, mankind is slowly destroying some species of them. Pollution is a big threat to dolphins, as is fishing and hunting by humans.
In recent years, the Yangtze River dolphin was one of the species that became extinct.
7. Mothers and Calves Have a Strong Bond
The gestational period for dolphins is 9 to 17 months, which can be almost twice as long as the gestational period for humans. After their calves are born, dolphins have been seen cuddling their newborns.
A calf will nurse from its mother for as long as two years. Altogether, they’ll remain with their moms from three to eight years.
8. They Have Amazing Senses…Except One
Dolphins have great eyesight, whether they are in the water or above the surface. They can hear way more frequencies than humans can.
But like whales they don’t have any sense of smell. That’s because their brain doesn’t have an olfactory system.
Another sense that isn’t highly refined on them is their sense of taste. The only flavor they can taste is salty.
9. They Can Swim Fast When They Want To
At a normal pace when they have no compelling reason to use a burst of speed, dolphins swim in the range of 7 to 8 miles per hour. When they have a good reason to do so, they can go speeds as high as 25 miles per hour.
10. Dolphins Aren’t Only Gray, Some are Pink!
Most of us are used to seeing gray dolphins. But some dolphins spend much of their life as another color.
The Amazon River dolphin is known for its pink hue, although as calves they are born gray. They gradually turn pink as they get older. Some of the adults only have pink spots, while others are mostly bubble-gum pink.
SHANNON SERPETTE is an award-winning journalist, having received 10 Illinois Press Association writing awards across a wide variety of categories. An avid metal detectorist, Shannon spends most of her vacations at the beach searching for buried treasure. Follow her daily adventures on Twitter.