Dolphins are playful and sooo adorable! Here are 25 weird and fun dolphin facts that kids would find super interesting. Even your kindergartener would love them!
25 Weird & Fun Dolphin Facts For Kids
1. Amazon River Dolphins Are Pink in Color
Aamazon river dolphins are cute pink animals. But they are not born pink. This species turns pink with age. Male dolphins are considerably more pink in color than females. Some believe that this is due to the scar tissue from battles they endure during combat or games with others.
2. Dolphins Can Dive Up To 1,000 feet
Dolphins can dive up to 100 feet deep(more than world’s tallest building) into Atlantic in search of food. The deepest dive ever recorded for a bottleneck dolphin is 300 meters (990 feet). However coastal dolphins may not be capable of such a deep dive. Their unique lungs structure, coupled with the ability to regulate blood flow, along with more red blood cells help them achieve this.
3. There Are 42 Dolphin Species
There are 38 species of ocean dolphins and 4 species of river dolphins. Orca, pilot whale, and false killer whale are the largest ocean dolphins. The smallest ones are the New Zealand dolphins and tucuxi. The river dolphins look quite different than ocean ones.
4. Killer Whales Are Actually Dolphins
Killer whales are not technically whales. The Orcas are actually dolphins. They are the most powerful and largest member of the dolphin family. Most of their characterics like ability to echolocate, size etc tie them with dolphin family.
5. Newborn Dolphin Babies Have Hair
Dolphins are born with hair. Baby dolphins have few whiskers around their snout when born. But the hair falls off shortly after birth. One exception is – the Amazon river dolphins. This species is known to keep their hair even in adulthood. It is sensory hair and is believed to help in the search for prey along with echolocation.
6. Young Dolphins Stay With Mother Between 5-10 Years
Dolphins are usually pregnant for 10-18 months before a baby is born. Dolphins only give birth to one baby at a time. Unlike most mammals, dolphin babies are born tail first. Mother dolphins nurse their babies for 2-3 years. The mothers teach the young dolphins to hunt, avoid danger, social skills – preparing them for independence. Dolphin teenagers go independent only at about 5-10 years of age.
7. The Oldest Dolphin Died at 67 Years!
The average life expectancy of dolphins is 28-29 years. Bottlenose dolphins live at least 40 years in the wild. Some females of these species are known to live for 60 years or more. However, in captivity, they survive only around 12-13 years. The oldest living bottlenose dolphin Nicklo died at 67 years old.
8. Bottlenose Dolphins Can Recognise Themeselves In The Mirror
Dolphins are quite intelligent. They are regarded as the second most intelligent living being, only after humans. Bottlenose dolphins are one of few rare animals that can recognize themselves in the mirror. The others are
9. The Ancestors of Dolphins Lived on Land
According to researchers, dolphins and other cetaceans(porpoises, dolphins, and whales) evolved from a hoofed, land-living mammal called ‘Mesonyx’. They went to live in the sea 50 million years ago. The early dolphins were much smaller in size. There are many theories behind the migration to water – shortage of food, climate change.
10. Dolphins are Highly Social Animals
Like humans, dolphins live in social groups. They live in pods that provide protection and companionship. But the pod membership is not rigid. Dolphins are also free to move around between different pods. There are three types of pods – nursery groups, juvenile pods, adult males.
11. Dolphins Communicate Through Whistles
Dolphins communicate with each other through whistles. Each dolphin whistle is unique that other pod members can recognize. When in distress, they use particular sounds for other pod members to recognize and come to aid.
12. Dolphins Use Echolocation To See Better Underwater
Dolphins use echolocation to move better underwater. Researchers believe they have over time developed the ability. Dolphins produce high-frequency click sounds. And pick up the returned echo through the lower jaw and forehead. This internally gets channeled to ears and then the brain.
13. Dolphins Can See Some Colors
Dolphins can only see colors in the blue, grey, green spectrum. They are otherwise colorblind.
14. Dolphins Can See Both Above & Under Water
Dolphins see quite well both underwater and above the water.
15. Dolphins Do Not drink water
Like all the other marine mammals dolphins do not drink water from the sea. They get water from the food they eat. Same goes for other mammals like whales, seals etc.
16. Dolphins Sleep With Only Half Their Brain
Dolphins have this unique ability to sleep with only half of their brains at one time. The other half of the brain stays alert. It watches out for predators, or any other obstacles. This also signals the dolphins when to come up for fresh air. As per a research conducted, dolphins can constantly stay alert for 15 days at a row.
17. Dolphins Have 2 Stomachs
Just Like cows, dolphins also have two stomachs. One stomach is used for storing food, the other one is used for digesting it.
18. Dolphins Don’t Chew Their Food
Dolphins have teeth, but they do not use the teeth for chewing. Instead they use their teeth to grab the prey. Dolphins swallow small fish as a whole. While they shake or rub the larger fish against something to break them apart.
19. Dolphins Have Delicate Skin But Heals Quickly
A dolphin’s skin is very smooth and rubbery. It has no sweat glands or hair. It gets bruised even at slightest rub against hard surface. Dolphins also have remarkable ability to heal quickly. Even after a shark bite, the dolphin body would not have infections. And majority of the tissue will be replaced within a month, without leaving any scar.
20. U.S. Navy Trains Dolphins
Dolphins and other sea lions are trained by U.S. Navy as teammates for sailors and marines. They help tackle underwater threats. During cold-war dolphins were used to locate suspicious objects or individuals underwater. Milltary dolphins help in rescue mission, other lost object recovery etc.
21. Dolphins Have Learnt To Use Tools
Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins of Shark Bay have been seen to use tool to capture prey. They use empty gastropod shell to capture, carry and eat fish. Dolphins learn tool usage from mothers to babies and from peers as well.
22. Dolphins Form Friendships Through Common Interests
A study conducted showed that sponging dolphins form deeper friendship and companionship with other sponging dolphins. Just like humans, dolphins form social bonds based on shared interest.
23. Dolphins Communicate Through Names
Every bottleneck dolohin has its own unique whistle. Others can copy the unique whistles. Research show that dolphins respond back to hearing a copy of their own whistle. Thus the dolphins have developed an unique ability to leveling or naming each one.
24. Dolphins Get High on Puffer Fish
Puffer fish contain tetrodotoxin which even in a small dose can kill humans. But documentary shows this toxin to have a narcotic effect on dolphins when consumed in small quantity.
25. Dolphins Love to Play
Dolphins love to play for fun. They are particularly fond of jumping out of water. They are known to swim through self made bubble rings and surf in the waves. Playing helps them to be more social and learn different skills.