What’s up with bottlenose dolphins?



The Atlantic bottlenose dolphins are members of the cetaceans order, their characteristics are a pronounced beaklike snout, a sickle shaped dorsal fin and small but very sharp teeth. As they are mammals and require oxygen they also have a blow hole positioned at the top of their head.  Dolphins can hold their breath for upto 2-3 minutes before coming up for air, this can be seen and heard by a large bellow and a mist of water from the blow hole.  Very rarely will an individual dolphin be seen as they are very social, living in groups called “pods”.  Each pod consist of up to 25+ dolphin, however most are lower than this.

It is hard to estimate the size of dolphins unless you swim with them and see their complete length.  Fully mature bottlenose dolphins can grow up to 11-12 feet and weigh in excess of 1200 pounds.  This weight is largely made up by the blubber; this blubber is a thick insulating wall around the complete body of the dolphin.

The bottlenose dolphins physiology makes them very efficient at swimming.  Its pointed beak, streamlined body, and small but very powerful fin and tail allow fast manoeuvring.

Bottlenose dolphins diet consists of mid-water fish and squid, they hunt in their pods which can reduce a large school of fish to nothing. Their small sharp teeth prevent them from feeding on harder substances such as turtles.

So who do bottlenose dolphins have to fear other than humans? Their predators consist of tiger sharks, bull sharks and orcas.  The dolphins speed and agility often makes the predator look for easier food.

Dolphin age is hard to predict as we can not follow a dolphin throughout its lifespan, however in captivity 25 years has been recorded.  The bottlenose dolphins are abundant and are not at risk from extinction.