“Those images that yet, Fresh images beget, That dolphin-torn, that gong-tormented sea.” - William Butler Yeats
In the vast blue ocean, these lovely creatures face the world with a gracious smile, flipping their fins, and reaching down the quiet depths. They happily swim, back and forth, exploring in all the directions of the globe; swimming each day of their lives with elegance and style. They leap up high from the ocean, coming back with a splash, showing you that they can fly. Their leap is full of joy, and in control. They swim in the ocean as if they are bound to the blue waters to keep a vigil. Seeing dolphins in the ocean, tumbling high and free, reminds you of your quest for joy in this wondrous life. Dolphins are the much loved marine animals. They emanate a pulse wave, which heals the gloominess of many souls. Research has shown that compassionate dolphins seek out humans who feel low, and try to cheer up and encourage them to be happy. Dolphins are known for their intellect, their acrobatic abilities, and their gregarious nature. They belong to a group of mammals known as cetaceans, and are divided into two main groups, the tooth whales and the baleen whales. However, there are many lesser known qualities that make a dolphin a lovable mammal. Read the article to explore the various characteristics of these marine mammals.
Phylum: Chordata (vertebrates)
Length: 1.2 m to 9.6 m
Weight: 40 kg to 10 tonnes
Lifespan: 17 to 25 years
Diet: Mackerel, herring, cod, squid, seal, turtles, and planktons.
Habitat: Mild cold and warm waters to fresh water. Rivers, lagoons, sea, and ocean.
Gestation Period: 11months (for smaller dolphins) to 17 months (for larger dolphins)
Number Of Offspring: one (rarely twins)
Interesting & Amazing Information On Dolphins
- Dolphins are mammals. They give birth to young ones and nurse them with their milk.
- Dolphins have to come up to the surface to breathe. Most dolphins surface every few minutes, but they can stay under water for up to 15 minutes. A dolphin breathes through the blowhole on the top of its head.
- Dolphins use echolocation to navigate, and to locate food. They emit signals that bounce from other objects in the water just like an echo. In this way a dolphin can sense food, predators, rocks, and other dolphins.
- Dolphins live in families. These families are generally led by a female dolphin. When raising their young ones the dolphins in a family help each other. Several families join together to form a larger group when traveling or hunting.
- The largest known dolphin is the orca. It can reach up to ten meters in length.
- Dolphins have a thick layer of fat underneath their skin. This layer of fat is known as the blubber. The blubber helps to keep the dolphins warm, as they do not have any fur. Dolphins staying in cold water usually have a thicker layer of blubber than dolphins in warm water.
- Not all dolphins live in seawater. There are certain species, which live in fresh water as well. These are known as river dolphins, and are a gravely endangered species.
- Dolphins have a unique sense of hearing. They do not have the external ear openings. Their ear openings are small slits located behind the eyes.
- Dolphins have an excellent vision, both inside and outside of the water. Their eyes have specially adapted lens and cornea that enables them to see clearly in and out of the water.
- Dolphins lack a strong olfactory sense. They do not have olfactory nerves and lobes, and so they have poorly developed sense of smell.
- The forelimbs of a dolphin are equivalent to the forelimbs of other mammals, and they are analogous to the arms in human. A dolphin’s forelimbs are known as pectoral flippers and the bones in these are shortened. They use these flippers to steer and modulate their speed.
- Not all dolphins have dorsal fins. Some species like the Northern right whale and the Southern right whale dolphins lack dorsal fins.
- The Baiji species is a seriously endangered species of dolphins that inhabits the murky waters of the Yangtze River in China. These species has been declared functionally extinct.
- Due to overfishing, environmental pollution, and habitat destruction a lot of dolphin species have become endangered. In some countries, they are killed for their oil and fins, or they get stuck in fishing nets. Humans pose the greatest threat to dolphins and if nothing is done about it, they might soon become extinct.