Dolphins have always held a special place in the human imagination as if we share a special connection with them. These graceful creatures are not only beautiful but also incredibly playful and intelligent.

Most people don’t know that dolphins are mammals, not fish. They must come up for air and can’t breathe underwater like other aquatic animals.

Here are some more dolphin facts to enjoy.

 Dolphin Facts You Need To Know 

Dolphins have captured the hearts of many, but there’s so much more to these aquatic animals than their charming appearance and playful behavior.

From their anatomy to their communication methods, these facts about dolphins will give you a deeper understanding of these playful creatures and why they hold a special place in the ocean’s ecosystem.

Fish are the dolphin’s favorite food.

Fish make up the majority of a dolphin’s diet. Studies show that bottlenose dolphins primarily eat fish such as eels, hake, and mullet, making up 98% of their food intake.

However, the specific diet of a dolphin can vary based on factors such as their species, characteristics, and habitat. For example, dusky dolphins in South American waters consume more anchovies than their other cousins.

Dolphins have many homes.

You can find dolphins in oceans and seas all over the world and in certain rivers. Some species prefer to stay close to the coast, while others prefer tropical waters farther out at sea. Some species may also migrate.

Dolphin s live in a society.

Not only are dolphins known for their intelligence, but they also have unique characteristics, such as advanced social abilities and self-awareness, which contribute to their playful nature.

Like humans, dolphins need a social structure for communication, breeding, and protection. They join and leave different social groups, resulting in a fission-fusion society.

Dolphins are social creatures that form close bonds with other members of their kind and, occasionally, other species. During this process, they often display playful, sensitive, cooperative, and benevolent behavior.

As highly social animals, dolphins form groups known as pods that travel and hunt together. Depending on the species, most species live in pods of 2 to 30 dolphins. Sometimes, dolphin pods living in areas with ample food merge to form larger groups with over 1,000 individuals.

Dolphin behavior often relies on this social interaction for hunting, mating, and self-defense. In some cases, these large groups include multiple species of cetaceans that interact peacefully with one another.

Dolphins have playtime.

Dolphins have various reasons for forming groups and engaging in play beyond following a learned pattern. Smaller dolphin species group together as a survival adaptation to protect themselves from predators. By coming together, they can better protect themselves and each other through communication and intimidation by numbers.

Aside from survival, dolphins group together to form lifelong friendships through social and playful interactions. They create bubble rings, surf in the waves, and engage in other playful activities as part of their friendly and fun-loving nature.

But these actions serve a greater purpose. Play teaches dolphins how to behave and think. It is essential for a dolphin calf’s cognitive development and familiarizing them with other pod members. It also provides calves the opportunity to learn critical social skills and gain knowledge about the characteristics and tendencies of their social group members, particularly their peers.

Baby dolphins drink milk. 

According to one of the best dolphin tours in St. Pete Beach, dolphins are mammals like us. One of the defining characteristics of mammals is the ability to produce milk from mammary glands. Female dolphins lactate and nurse their young through mammary slits on either side of their genital slits. They may also produce milk while pregnant, allowing them to feed their older calf until the next one is born. Most dolphin calves nurse for two to four years, and some may remain with their mothers for up to five years.

Dolphin milk is not similar to human milk but is more akin to the high-fat milk produced by dogs and reindeer. However, it contains less lactose than dog and reindeer milk.

Dolphins don’t squirt water from their blowholes. 

You may have seen drawings of dolphins squirting water from their blowholes. It’s impossible in real life because dolphins don’t have gills. Like other mammals, dolphins have lungs for breathing. Their blowholes are like our nostrils, through which they inhale and exhale. The water you see that seemingly comes out of their blowholes isn’t from their lungs; it comes from the excess water running off their bodies.

Key Takeaway 

Dolphins are intelligent and playful mammals that live in societies known as pods. They have a diverse diet, primarily consisting of fish, and can be found in oceans and seas worldwide. Playtime and social interaction are essential to their cognitive development and survival. Female dolphins lactate and nurse their young through mammary slits, and calves nurse for 2 to 4 years. They also don’t have gills and squirt water from their blowholes; they have lungs like other mammals. 

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