Are you searching for facts about dolphins? Are you working on a science report on dolphins? Are you a teacher needing dolphin facts for a lesson plan? Did your child see a dolphin on TV and is curious about them? Here are a few fun facts about dolphins for kids.
Dolphins live in every ocean in the world.
Dolphins can be found in all of the oceans on Earth. You can find them in the Pacific, Atlantic, and even in the Arctic Ocean. The majority of dolphins, however, prefer warm waters near and around the equator.
Dolphins have great vision.
Dolphins can see very well. They have outstanding vision both in and out of water. Their sight helps them see in deep, dark waters and on the ocean’s surface. Marine biologists believe that dolphins can see more clearly than humans can underwater.
There are thirty-eight species of dolphins.
There are 38 different types of dolphins. The most common ones are bottlenose, spinner, and spotted dolphin.
Dolphins are mammals.
Dolphins are not fish. They are mammals, just like humans, cows and dogs. That means that they nurse their young. They are classified in the scientific order Cetacea, along with whales and porpoises.
Dolphins come in various sizes.
Not all dolphins are the same size. Some dolphins such as the Black Dolphin, are only about five feet long. The Bottlenose dolphin is about 8 feet long. Maui’s dolphins can be as small as four feet long.
A dolphin breathes through a hole on the top of its head.
Dolphins need air to survive. (All mammals breathe air.) Dolphins breathe through a small hole on the top of its head. This is called a “blowhole”. The dolphin can cover its blowhole with a flap of skin when it is underwater. When dolphins are near the surface, they breathe several times per minute. However, a diving dolphin can hold its breath for ten minutes or more.
Dolphins are predators.
Dolphins hunt and eat their food. That means they are predators. They kill other animals to eat. An adult dolphin will consume about 4 to 5 percent of its body weight in a day. Dolphins eat fish, jellyfish, squid, shrimp, crab, clams and more. They spend a lot of the their time hunting for food.
Dolphins have several enemies.
Dolphins are hunted by larger marine animals. Sharks (such as the Great White Shark) eat dolphins. Large dolphins sometimes eat smaller dolphins. Dolphins will try to stay safe by sticking together in a group. Sometimes, the group of dolphins will attack a shark together if it comes near. These groups are called “pods” and consist of about 15 dolphins.
Human behavior has contributed to the loss of many dolphins.
Many dolphins die each year because of human fishing activities. Dolphins can get tangled in fishing nets. However, some laws have been passed to help protect dolphins. One law, the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, made it illegal to hunt marine mammals in the US.
Dolphins are very intelligent.
Some marine biologists believe that dolphins may the most intelligent animals after humans. They are able to learn challenging tasks very quickly. For example, many scientists have been able to teach dolphin to recognize and understand a special sign language. They can even recognize their reflection in a mirror.
Some dolphins have lived to be 40 years old.
In the wild, most dolphins only live 25 to 30 years. However, in captivity some dolphins have lived to be 40.
A baby dolphin will stay with its mother until it is 3 to 8 years old.
Dolphins nurse until they are one to two years old. However, when they are weaned, they will stay with their mothers, sometimes up to age 8.
Dolphins swim at a rate of about 5 to 7 miles per hour.
Dolphins will usually swim at a rate of about 5 to 7 miles per hour. However, sometimes they swim much faster, at about 18 to 30 miles per hour.
Looking for more random facts? Take a look at “Facts for Kids about Manatees” and “Fun Facts for Kids About Turtles.”
Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises by Richard Harrison and Michael Dryden
Dolphins by Kris Hirschmann