Have you seen my “bottlenose”?

As a little child, do you recall those trips you would take down to the aquarium to watch all the sea shows? Everyone always had that one favorite performance-the dolphins! Usually, the most familiar and well-known type of performing dolphin that we see, whose genus is Tursiops and species name is Truncatus, is more commonly called the bottlenose dolphin. They are definitely one of the smartest animals in the world, which is no coincidence as to why they are used in aquariums for entertainment. These marine creatures can weigh from 200-300 pounds, growing anywhere from 6 to 12 ft long. Most of the bottlenose dolphins have a light or dark gray-like color, and their strong boddies with a dorsal fin in their middle back area, are crucial features needed for all the swimming they do. Their skin is surrounded by a fat, called blubber, which assists the dolphins in swimming through cold waters, since they are warm-blooded animals. Additionally, they also have a short, yet thick snout, hence its name, “bottlenose,” and when they open their mouths, they always crack a pleasant smile.animals-dolphin-header-web

Image taken aqua.org

Being social animals who love to communicate, bottlenose dolphins use echolocation in order to hunt down prey and to swim around their habitats. Living in waters ranging from the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, to the Black and Mediterranean Seas, these creatures can send ultrasounds through the water, and by the use of their mellon, the organ that helps the dolphins hear sounds, sense locations and even speeds of an object, it can then safely navigate through the waters. Alongside this, their hearing ability is also a unique adaptation, since sounds travel through their inner jaw and to their ear, where their brains usually comprehend the message. Additionally, they are quite fast, reaching speeds up to about twenty miles an hour. Surprisingly, they can stay underwater for up to 15 minutes without gasping for air. Reaching depths as low as 250 meters below the surface, bottlenose dolphins need to come up for air every few minutes, or else they start struggle without proper oxygen intake. Their flap over their blowhole closes every time they go under the water, and when they reach the surface, it again opens up for air. Therefore, since they need to come up to breathe, they can never fully relax or take naps, because their brain constantly needs to tell them they need air.

Image taken from physchem.cosound2_f5.gif

 

 

 

 

In addition to their swimming behaviors, these dolphins also use another technique in order to communicate. By whistling and making noises, they are able to send signals to other dolphins and sometimes even humans. Their body language usually portrays them as being very lively animals, swimming around in pods (groups) of 10-25. Further yet, as for their sexual maturity, females reach this state faster than males, taking anywhere from 5-13 years, while males take 9-14 years. Females also give birth after about 12 months, and the baby dolphins, known as calves, need to start being completely independent of their mother when they are anywhere from 3-6 years old.

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Image taken from imgur.com

 

 

 

 

As for their diets, these dolphins enjoy preying on fish, shrimp, or even squid. An interesting feeding strategy they have is “fish whacking,” where they use their tails to kill their prey by whipping them out of the water. On the other hand, as for the threats posed on the dolphins themselves, they used to be wanted for their meat and their fat was taken to make oils. Nowadays, however, they have more risk getting hurt from the boats, nets, and sharp spears used by fishermen.

_39154790_net_bbc_203  Image taken from newsimg.bbc

As for their endangerment level, these mammals are a least concern species, since they are conserved under the Marine Mammal Protection Act as of 1972.

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Red portion= bottlenose populations

Image taken from animalfactguide.com

Since they are far from being endangered, this is a great advantage for the species because then they can live their full life span of about 45 years, without feeling too much threat. Even if the dolphins did not live their full life cycles, these marine animals love to please their audience, which is another reason why they are always seen as being so joyous. Whenever approaching a bottlenose dolphin in the water, it is best to keep one’s distance and instead to watch its unique behaviors, observing its high jumping as well as the way it uses its blowhole to play around in the water.

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Image taken from wildcoast.co

 

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