Six Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Dolphins

Everyone knows dolphins, right? Then you will be surprised by these six facts you didn’t know about dolphins.

Bob meet John

Each dolphin has his own name! To be more exact, each dolphin has his own whistle that is unique to each individual. Dolphins use them to communicate with one another and to identify each other. During a dolphin’s first year, these signature dolphin whistles are developed and remain the same throughout their lifetime. Female dolphins may even teach their calves their whistles before they are born

Diving with Dolphins at Tubbataha - Philippines
Say hello to Johnny! Dolphins swimming by a reef in Tubbataha, Philippines

Copy-paste

Dolphins are also well known for their strong capacity to observe and imitate skills through social learning. Thus, they learn how to use tools. For example, while foraging, scientists have observed many dolphins covering their snouts with sponges to protect themselves. This is what we call ‘learnt behaviour’.

Sleepy time

Dolphins need to swim up to the surface to breath. So, in order to sleep without drowning, dolphins don’t really sleep for several hours at a time, instead they rest one hemisphere of their brain for 15 to 20 minutes several times a day! By doing so, dolphins can continue swimming, breathing, and watching for predators all day and night long.

The posse

Dolphins are very social and like to spend time with other dolphins. However, they segregate themselves info friend groups. Just like us, dolphins prefer the company of certain buddies more than others.

Diving with dolphins in Bahamas
A pod of dolphins in the Bahamas

Toothy

Dolphins have around 250 teeth. They only use them to catch prey and not to chew their food as they directly swallow it whole. The digestion occurs in one of their stomachs… Indeed, in one of them as they have multiple stomach chambers. One stomach digests, another one stores stores food before it goes through the digestion process.

Dolphin mouth with its teeth
Dolphin mouth with its numerous teeth – credit to Flickr user Ste Elmore San Deigo

Breach birth

Most female dolphins carry their babies for 9 to 17 months, depending on the species. Interestingly, calves are born tail first, instead of head first, so they don’t drown during the birth. Calves typically stay with their mother for around seven more years after the nurse.

So next time you encounter them, we hope that you will be able to remember all of these six facts you did not know about dolphins. Join us in the Red Sea or the Philippines to have the best chances to see them.

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