Wondering how do dolphins hydrate? Do they drink the salty seawater for survival? Does the salt from the sea damage dolphin kidneys and cause dehydration?
Do Dolphins Drink Sea Water?
Dolphins are ocean mammals. All mammals need water for survival. Dolphins live in the sea. So do they drink the sea water for survival? The answer is – No, Dolphins do not drink seawater. Sea water is salty. And not fit for consumption as it is.
Even the dolphins that live in rivers like the Amazon river dolphins (Botos) do not consume the sweet water they live in.
Dolphins also use their tongue to squeeze out the excess water from their mouth while eating their prey.
Although it is impossible to live in the sea and not to drink a drop of water. Dolphins do surely end up gulping some sea water – either by mistake or by choice.
In that case, their specially designed kidneys filter out the excess salt. Thus the sea water does not cause any damage or dehydration(unlike human beings).
Do Dolphins Get Thirsty?
But do dolphins need to drink water?
Marine mammals do not sweat, unlike their land cousins. Living in water, they also do not dehydrate from the sun.
They also conserve water as they exhale less in water in the breath and less frequently. Dolphins’ fatty blubber just below the skin also helps them from losing much water.
That being said, do dolphins feel thirsty? Do dolphins need to drink water to hydrate? No dolphins do not need to drink water. They do not rely on external water consumption to fill their fluid balance. Their body gets the required water from the food they eat.
How Do Dolphins Hydrate?
Dolphins and other marine mammals get most of their water requirement from the fish, squid, etc they eat.
Fish, squid bodies have over 70% water content. Their blood and other fluid are around one-third as salty as seawater. And is not very different from the terrestrial animal.
Dolphins get the water by metabolic breaking down of the food they eat. Water is the byproduct of carbohydrate and fat metabolism.
What Does Marine Animals Drink?
Different sea animals have adapted differently to the sea.
Most sea mammals do not drink water and instead hydrate from the food they eat. But there are animals like whales etc that do drink the salty water. However different animals have varied ways to process salt water.
Seagulls have special salt glands just behind their eyes. These glands help filter out the extra amount of salt.
Fish and whales have specially designed kidneys that pump out the extra salt out of their bodies. Marine fish also have special cells in their gills to remove extra salt out to the sea.
Sharks interesting do not drink any seawater. They hydrate through a process called Osmoregulation, in which water molecules from the sea flow in shark bodies via penetrable membranes.