Information on Dolphins: Behavior and Habitat
are a species of small toothed whales. They are considered mammals because
they are born with hair, have lungs (breath air), give live birth, nurse
their young, are warm blooded and have larger, more developed brains than
other animals. Dolphins are considered to be highly intelligent.
differ from dolphin in that their head is blunt and have a triangular dorsal
fin. The dolphin has a beak-like snout and a curved dorsal fin.
are sexually mature at 8 years of age. They give birth every 2 - 3 years.
This can happen any time of the year, but usually takes place in the Spring
and Summer. Pregnancy lasts 11 - 12 months, and the calf is delivered tail
first. Calves are born around 3 feet long and weigh between 25 - 40 pounds.
Calves may begin eating fish as early as 3 months, but continue nursing
for up to 18 months.
dolphins can reach a length of 12 feet and 1400 pounds, but most grow to
10 feet and 500 pounds. In the wild, dolphin have a life span of 30 years.
The males are called Bulls, while the females are referred to as Cows.
The young are called Calves. Adult dolphin live in small groups called
pods. These pods may have as many as 12 dolphin. Several pods may come
together to form a group of several hundred dolphin at one time.
dolphin are air breathers and must be aware of their surroundings at all
times, they let half of their brain sleep at one time. They must remain
at the surface of the water. First, they close one eye and allow one side
of the brain to sleep, then they switch sides. The dolphin remains motionless
during this time.
use 94 sharp teeth to eat fish and crustaceans. They consume 14 pounds
of fish and crustaceans a day, and 20 pounds or more in colder months.
They are opportunistic feeders. They have been observed following shrimp
boats to feed on the fish discarded overboard by the shrimpers. Dolphin
also work together to herd fish into a tight ball, then they attack from
all sides at the same time.
should never feed dolphin. Dependence on humans is always dangerous for
wild animals. Also, adults in the pods have been known to leave their calves
unprotected while going for a human handout, and Tiger sharks, Bull
sharks, and other predators may take advantage of this vulnerability to
attack the young dolphin.
The dolphin usually
cruises at 7 miles per hour, but is capable of short burst of 30 miles
per hour or more. They are able to dive to a depth of 1000 feet and can
slow their heart rate, which allows them to stay under for up to 8 minutes
at a time. Dolphin prefer to make shallow dives and take a breath every
2 or 3 minutes. They are able to leap from the water in a jump that reaches
dolphin enjoy swimming the bow wave of a moving vessel, the motion of
the boat moving through the water gives them an almost effortless ride.
However, a vessel should never take a heading aimed at the dolphin,
they will voluntarily approach the vessel if the desire arrives.
You Dream About Encountering Dolphins in the Wild?
Yes, then our Key
West Dolphin Encounter is for You!
On this Eco-Tour, you will not only encounter wild dolphins but snorkel
in the same waters where the dolphins play. And you will learn lots
about wild dolphin and other sea creatures, wildlife of the Key West,
Florida Keys eco-system!
is a term used to describe the way dolphin use sonar or sounds to identify
each other, food availability, and obstacles under the water. The dolphin
makes clicking sounds, which rebound off of solid objects and echo back
to the dolphin. When the rebounding click returns, the dolphin can identify
what the object is and how far away it is by the amount of time it takes
to return and the quality of the returned sound. This allows dolphin to
communicate with one another at night and in murky water.
have a large range of displays. They appear playful as they leap from the
water, one after the other, and roll about the waters surface. We know
them to be protective of their young, as the mothers keep the calves alongside.
These displays seem easy enough to interpret, but what about tail
slapping, showing teeth, jaw snapping, or head butting? This is a show
of dominance and aggression. When these actions are displayed, respect
should be given by slowly moving away from the dolphin.
at times, swim above the schools of tuna, which has caused them to get
caught in the tuna nets. In 1990, a tuna boycott pushed the United States
Tuna canners to agree to only buy tuna from boats that fished where the
dolphin and tuna swim separately.
of dolphin has always been regarded by seamen as good luck.
It is our
duty to respect the space and attitude of the dolphin.
on Island Eco Tour/Key West Dolphin Encounter/Snorkel
Charters Available - Call 305-872-7588
Seaweed Charters, Inc.