10 Cool Facts About Dolphins

dolphin mother and calf
Dolphin mother and calf Photo by: Cherilyn Jose

1. Dolphins are mammals and breathe air through the blowhole at the top of their head. Their blowhole doesn’t shoot out water, only air.

2. Killer Whales, or Orcas, are the largest dolphin and grow up to 23 feet (7 meters) long.

3. The most common and recognizable dolphin is the Bottlenose Dolphin.

4. Some Bottlenose Dolphins use a tool, a sponge on its snout, to help flush out fish on the bottom of the ocean.

5. Dolphins mainly eat fish, squid and crustaceans (such as crabs and lobsters) that they swallow whole.

6. Female Dolphins are called cows, males are called bulls, and babies are called calves.

7. Dolphin calves are born tail first.

8. A Dolphin can “see ” by using sound waves bouncing off objects in the environment (called echolocation).

9. Dolphins are very intelligent and can recognize themselves in a mirror (like humans, chimpanzees and elephants).

10. Dolphins have signature whistles which are like human names.

10 Killer Whales, or Orca Whales, Facts

Orca breaching
Killer Whale breaching photo by NOAA

10 Killer Whales or Orca Whales Facts:

1. Orca Whales are found in all the world’s oceans.

2. Orcas are apex predators and lack any natural predators.

3. Most males never leave their mothers.

4. Orcas have culture since their hunting techniques and vocalizations are passed down generations.

5. Killer Whales generate 3 types of sounds: clicks, whistles, and pulsed calls.

6. Each pod has its own dialect of calls (that only they use).

7. Orcas and pilot whales are the only non-human species in which females undergo menopause (around age 40 years) and live decades after.

8. There may be up to 4 generations of Orcas in a traveling group.

9. Orcas have the 2nd heaviest brain among marine mammals (sperm whales have the heaviest brain)

10. A female Orca gives birth to 1 calf every five years, and she averages 5 calves per lifetime.

Also see: The 200-Year-Old Bowhead Whale: The Oldest Mammal on Earth

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8 Surprising Facts about Orcas from Treehugger