35 Interesting Facts About Bottlenose Dolphins

  1. The bottlenose dolphin belongs to the oceanic dolphin family. They have three species: common bottlenose dolphins (in warm and temperature seas worldwide), Indian Ocean bottlenose dolphins (in the Indian Ocean), and southern Australian bottlenose dolphins (in Australia’s southern and southeastern shores).
  2. Dolphins and whales can only taste the salty flavor. However, bottlenose dolphins are unique as they can taste sweet, sour, bitter, and salty flavors. (Source)
  3. Bottlenose dolphins use different eyes to observe different types of objects. They use their left eye to see familiar objects and view unfamiliar objects from the right eye. (Source)
  4. Bottlenose dolphins are the only known nonhuman mammals that use learned signals as labels to identify various social companions. (Source)
  5. Bottlenose dolphins are one of the few aquatic mammals that are known to use tools. They use different tools for foraging and other purposes. (Source)
  6. Bottlenose dolphins have shown altruism towards humans and also other sea creatures. Several documents of these dolphins saving humans and stranded whales have been recorded. (Source)
  7. Bottlenose dolphins are intelligent creatures. After humans, bottlenose dolphins have the second-highest EQ (brain size to body ratio). On shallow seabeds, they place sponges over their snouts, which protect them from the spines of stingrays and stonefish. These dolphins are among the few animals that have self-recognition in mirror tests. (Source)
  8. Bottlenose dolphins in Brazil cooperate with local fishermen. They drive fish towards shores through murky water. The fishermen catch the fish in their nests, and bottlenose dolphins get an easy chance to prey on individual fish. (Source)
  9. Bottlenose dolphins and a few other marine mammals receive training by the militaries of the USA and Russia to locate sea mines and enemy divers. Bottlenose dolphins are even better than machines for detecting mines. (Source)
    A military trained bottlenose dolphin with locator
    Few militaries train bottlenose dolphins to locate mines

  10. Strand feeding is a hunting technique in marine mammals similar to barrier feeding or chase behavior. This predatory strategy was initially observed in bottlenose dolphins. (Source)  
  11. The maximum diving depth of bottlenose dolphins is around 1,000 m. These dolphins can stay underwater for 13 minutes at this depth in a single breath. They can do so without experiencing decompression sickness, thanks to their sophisticated cardiovascular system. (Source)
  12. Male bottlenose dolphins cooperate by making alliances (of 2 to 3) and groups (of 4 to 14 individuals) to get access to females. They are the only known animal besides humans that possess this feature. (Source)
  13. The longest lifespan for bottlenose dolphins is 61 years in captivity and 67 years in the wild. Their age estimation process includes counting growth layers inside the root of their teeth.
  14. Bottlenose dolphins can inhale up to 8 gallons (30 liters) of air per second and exhale 34 gallons (130 liters) per second. This rate is two to three times faster than a human’s breathing rate. (Source)
  15. Common bottlenose dolphins can hybridize with other dolphin species from at least six different genera. These hybrid dolphins can survive to adulthood and are capable of reproduction. (Source)
  16. Bottlenose dolphins can grow from 2 to 3.9 m in size and 150 to 200 kg in weight. The largest recorded bottlenose dolphin has a 4.1 m (13.5 feet) length and 650 kg weight.
  17. A study has proved that bottlenose dolphins call each other through individual names. Individual dolphins respond to their calls as humans answer when they hear their names. (Source)
  18. Bottlenose dolphins can make up to 1,000 clicking noises per second. It helps them find the location, size, and shape of their prey or any other object.
  19. Bottlenose dolphins can produce a frequency of sound between 0.2 to 150 kHz. Low-frequency sounds (0.2 to 40 kHz) are used for social communications, while high-frequency clicks between 40 and 150 kHz are ideal for echolocation. Individual dolphins have their signature whistles. (Source)
  20. Like humans, bottlenose dolphins can also get type 2 diabetes. However, these mammals can control their diabetes-like situation through a special function. They can increase their diabetes level in the blood if necessary and turn it off when sugar is not required. Scientists believe that understanding this system can assist in treating type 2 diabetes in humans. (Source)
  21. Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins in the Red Sea rub themselves with a bush-like coral known as gorgonian. The purpose of this act is self-medication. (Source)
  22. Bottlenose dolphins can kill their cousin porpoises for unknown reasons. These dolphins do not eat porpoises but kill them by ramming, biting, and tossing them in the air. (Source)
  23. Bottlenose dolphins can jump up to 18 feet high in the air. The Pacific white-sided dolphin can jump up to 30 feet above the water. (Source)
  24. Bottlenose dolphins are one of few crustaceans with infanticide behavior. During an incident, two male bottlenose dolphins tried to drown a newborn calf for hours. (Source)
  25. Bottlenose dolphins are carnivorous mammals. Fish, shrimps, and squids form the main diet of these marine animals.
  26. About 20% body weight of bottlenose dolphins is blubber. This thick fat layer assists the mammal in surviving in cold water, healing wounds quickly, and swimming efficiently.
  27. Bottlenose dolphins have the longest social memory after humans. They can recognize the whistles of other dolphins even after 20 years of separation. In contrast to elephants, these dolphins can remember family members and strangers. (Source)
    A bottlenose dolphin surfing
    Bottlenose dolphins have the longest memory after humans

  28. Captive bottlenose dolphins can learn “tail walking” from humans. These dolphins in the wild can also learn this trait directly from captive dolphins. (Source)
  29. Bottlenose dolphins do not have the best vision in the animal kingdom. However, they can easily see with the same intensity, both in the air and underwater. 
  30. Large shark species (tiger sharks, bull sharks, great white sharks, etc.) are primary predators of bottlenose dolphins. These sharks are especially dangerous for calves. On a few occasions, bottlenose dolphins may also attack sharks to defend territory or protect calves.
  31. In 1994, a bottlenose dolphin, nicknamed Tiao, killed a person and injured another one when they tried to ride and tie objects to its tail. The incident took place at a beach in Brazil. (Source)  
  32. In November 2004, a pod of bottlenose dolphins saved four swimmers from a 10 feet long great white shark in New Zealand. These dolphins continued circling these swimmers for 40 minutes until they reach the shore. (Source)
  33. Like few other marine mammals, bottlenose dolphins also shut half of their brain and an eye while sleeping. It helps them to watch for predators and know the right time to move to the surface to breathe. These dolphins cannot remain asleep continuously for more than two hours. (Source)
  34. Bottlenose dolphins produce sounds like whistles, moans, and grunts, at varying frequencies, wavelengths, and patterns. They make these sounds at any time and depth of water. 
  35. Grass-wearing behavior is a unique feature in large groups of bottlenose dolphins. These dolphins use grass for self-decoration, either to greet or for attention-seeking. (Source)


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