Awww how adorable are baby dolphins! Here are the 10 most interesting must-know facts about teg calves. Kids would surely love and maybe can relate with a few of their own.
1. Dolphin Babies Are Born Tail First
Unlike other mammals, dolphins are born tail first, while the head comes out last. This is to ensure the newborn does not suffocate due to the lack of oxygen. Dolphins can not breathe underwater and have to come up for air regularly. Typically they can stay underwater 8-10 minutes at one time. If the head comes out first, it would need to breathe after a few minutes. If the tail is not out by that time, the baby would suffocate underwater.
2. Baby Dolphins Are 39-53 inches Long
An adult dolphin reaches a length of 1.9 and 2.5 m at maturity. While born the babies are only 39-53 inches long. Male dolphins are generally longer and weigh more than their female counterparts.
3. Dolphin Babies Stay In Their Mother’s Womb For 12 Months
Dolphin mothers are pregnant with babies for approximately 12 months before a calf is born. Making it one of the longest pregnancies in the animal world. Only one baby is born at a time. For this reason, dolphins can never have twins. The mother has very little space in the uterus. For an easier birth, the tail fluke and dorsal are folded over in the Uterus.
4. Dolphins Are Born With Hair
Dolphins are born with some strands of hair in their snout. However, they lose the hair shortly and do not grow them back. These are sensory hair. And help the dolphin babies in echolocation so that they can locate their mother easily, till their other senses mature. Only Amazon River Dolphins are known to keep the hair till adulthood, helping them search for prey in riverbed using echolocation.
5. Baby Dolphins Use Their Tongue To Drink Milk
Breastfeeding underwater comes with many challenges. The Dolphins have evolved over time to make the process smooth. Dolphins’ nipples are hidden under their mammary slits. When a baby needs to drink milk, it nudges the mammary slit. This mother controls the amount of milk a baby can take and it squirts the milk into the calf’s mouth. The calf rolls its tongue in a U-shape like a straw. This ensures the milk goes directly inside the calf. Also, the milk is thick enough to pass through water easily.
6. Baby Dolphins Start Getting Teeth At 5 weeks
Dolphins have only one set of teeth which is embedded in the gum during birth. The teeth start coming out at 5 weeks. Dolphins get only one set of teeth in their lifetime. The bottlenose dolphin gets 72-104 teeth. Most dolphins get equal-sized conical-shaped teeth in both upper and lower jaws. The teeth are used to grab the prey. Dolphins do not chew their food.
7. Dolphins Feed Their Babies Milk For 2-3 Years
Dolphin mothers take excellent care of their babies. Nursing usually begins with 6 hours of birth. A calf nurses around 4 times per hour for the first 4-8 days. The mother nurses the baby for 2-3 years. Slowing the calves learn to hun as the mother weans the baby.
8. Calves Learn to Swim Inside Their Dophin Mother’s Womb
Researchers found that dolphin calves learn to swim while in the gestation period. They start learning as early as in 9 weeks of pregnancy. Swimming is important, as right after birth the baby dolphin swims to the surface for breathing air.
9. Baby Dolphins Are Quite Smart
Dolphins are quite smart. They learn to mimic easily. And demonstrate the ability to learn things quite early. They showcase playfulness, grief, joy, empathy, problem-solving skills. Dolphins are considered the smartest animal in the sea. Whales and dolphins are blessed with big brains.
10. Baby Dolphins Stay With Mothers For 5-10 Years
Dolphins spend their teenage years with mothers while learning different skills in the pod. Calves generally stay with their mother for 5-10 years. The calves learn to swim synchronously with their mothers. The dolphin babies learn to hunt, navigate through, how to avoid danger, from their mother.