Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)

Class: Mammalia
Order: Cetecea
Family:    Delphinidae
Size:    Length:  8 to 12 feet (2.4 to 3.6 m)
Weight: 350 to 1400 pounds (158.7 to 635 kg)
Diet: Fish, and sometimes bottom-dwelling fish and squid
Distribution: Coastal waters of North America, British Isles, Africa, the Mediterranean
Young:  1 calf every other year
Animal Predators:  Sharks
IUCN Status: Data Deficient
Terms: Young: Calf   Group: Pod
Lifespan: 20 to 48 years



·       The Greek legend “Aelian: the dolphin of Iassos” is about a boy who becomes with a bottlenose dolphin and when the boy dies, the dolphin is so distraught that it strands itself on the beach and dies.

·       Bottlenose dolphins can swim speeds of up to 22 miles (35 km) per hour.

·       Dolphins need to surface every once in awhile to breathe.

·       The TV show Flipper featured a bottlenose dolphin in the title role.



Bottlenose dolphins have long bodies, with round heads. They are charcoal grey in colour and have short beaks, a dorsal fin, sharp teeth, and a blowhole. Their undersides are lighter in colour. They sometimes take on a flushed pink shade colour when they are swimming in warm water. 



Bottlenose dolphins are found in the Pacific Ocean from northern Japan and California, around Hawaii and Australia. They can also be found in the Atlantic Ocean from Nova Scotia to the Gulf of Mexico, and along the west coast of Europe, in the Mediterranean Sea, and the Indian Ocean from Australia to South Africa.


Feeding Habits

Dolphins feed primarily on fish; depending on the availability of food, hunting behaviour may vary.  Most hunting occurs during the day. Dolphins swallow fish whole rather than chewing, so that the spines do not get caught in their throats.  



When a female dolphin is about to give birth, other females gather around to protect her from any danger. When the calf is born, it needs to breath air right away, so the mother and one of her friends push the baby to the surface. The bond between a mother and her calf is strong and long lasting. Calves nurse for 18 months to one year, and will stay near the mother for up to six years or more. Baby dolphins are fragile and are in danger of being killed by sharks. 



Bottlenose dolphins are extremely friendly and playful mammals, who play with each other or even with other animals such as turtles, fish, birds and whales. They also will play with balls, feathers or anything else they can find to toss around. Dolphins are social animals that live in groups called pods. They form close bonds with each other and when a member of their pod is injured, two other dolphins will swim underneath and bring the injured dolphin to the surface so it can breathe. Dolphins usually feed in the early morning and late afternoon, leaving them hours of playtime in between. They are extremely energetic and can jump as high as 16 feet (4.9 m), then land on their backs or sides, a behaviour known as a breach.



Bottlenose dolphins are protected by international agreement and by U.S. state and federal laws. They are listed as Data Deficient by the IUCN, which means that there is insufficient data concerning their abundance and/or distribution to classify them as threatened




Bottlenose Dolphin Wildlife Fact File, IM Pub, US