Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)


Family:                    Delphinidae.

Status:                     Not at risk.

Size:                        8 to 12 ft., 350-450 lbs.

Diet:                        Carnivore.

Characteristics:        Playful, social, intelligent.

Area:                       Coastal waters of North America, British Isles, Africa, the Mediterranean.

Offspring:                One calf every other year.

Predators:               Sharks.



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

·       During World War II, a group of American airmen stranded in a raft were rescued by two dolphins who came along and pushed them toward land.

·       Bottlenose dolphins can swim speeds of up to 25 mph.

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

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

·       One of two dolphins who portrayed Flipper on the TV show, died in a German shopping mall while touring in a portable pool after the series ended in 1968.

·       Kathy, the other Flipper, died after being kept in an exposed tank with no shade to protect her.



Bottlenose dolphins are extremely friendly and playful mammals who play with each other or even with other animals such as turtles, fish, bird and whales. They also will play with balls, feathers, string or anything else they can find to toss around. Dolphins are social animals who live in groups called pods. They form close bonds with each other and when a member of their pod is injured, two of his friends will swim underneath him and bring him to the surface so he can breathe. Sharks are the main predators of dolphins and especially like baby dolphins, but when they try to attack, other members of the dolphin pod surround the shark and ram its soft underside with their snouts. Sharks usually decide to leave dolphins alone. Dolphins feed in the early morning and late afternoon, leaving them hours of playtime in between. They’re extremely energetic and can jump as high as 16 feet, then land on their backs or sides, a behaviour known as a breach.



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.



Baby dolphins are also called calves. When a female dolphin is about to give birth, the 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. The calf nurses for eighteen months to a year, and will stay by the mother for up to six years or more. Baby dolphins are fragile and are in danger of being killed by sharks, so when the mother feels her calf is in danger, she holds it under her fins to protect it from harm. Bottlenose dolphins can live from 20 to 48 years.