Name: Bottlenose Dolphin
Scientific Classification: tursiops truncatus
Location: warmer, tropical oceans all over the world. Bottlenose dolphins that live further out to sea are larger and darker with shorter fins.
- Dolphins are not fish – they’re mammals – and are related to porpoises and whales.
- Adults are approximately 2-4 metres long and can weigh up to 650kg.
- Dolphins eat about 15kg of food a day, which consists of eels, fish, crustaceans and squid. They can hunt in groups to round up fish or use echolocation – similar to sonar – to find their lunch. They don’t chew their food, but swallow it whole.
- They are very social animals and live in pods of around 15, but some groups can be as large as 100 dolphins.
- Their main predators are killer whales, tiger sharks and great white sharks. They are also affected by pollution, getting entangled in fishing equipment or run over by boats, or illegal killing for the meat market.
- They do a thing called spy-hopping, which basically means bobbing with their head out of the water so they can look at their surroundings.
- Dolphins can live up to 40 years old.
- They have a bigger brain than humans and various intelligence tests have included mimicry, the use of artificial language and self-recognition.
Cuteness Rating: They’re pretty cute – especially when they have a baby tagging along.
Danger Rating: They are strong and they have 104 teeth in their cute face. You do not want to get whacked with their tail or bitten. Don’t underestimate the power of a dolphin…
We first saw dolphins in Whyalla. A mother and her babe followed a fishing boat into the marina and they lingered around the jetty for a few fish and a rub on the nose.
As we travelled across the Nullarbor, we saw dolphins swimming in the waters below, and we got to meet the friendly dolphins at Monkey Mia too.