It depends on the sort of dolphin. Orcas can live over 50 years, female Orcas may live to be nearly 90. But in the same way that only a few people live to be 100, only a few Orcas will live to that age. Bottlenose Dolphins may live to be well over 30. In captivity, dolphins usually live much shorter lives.
Did you know that water carries heat away from your body more than 25 times faster than air? So to keep warm all dolphins have a thick layer of fat called blubber which can protect them even in icy seas. Dolphins living in colder water will usually have thicker blubber than those which live in warmer water.
Dolphins swim by moving their tail up and down. A fish`s tail goes from side to side. Different types of dolphin swim at different speeds. Bottlenose Dolphins can travel at speeds of up to 27km an hour, but just as we can`t run at full speed for long they would soon need to slow down. A more usual speed would be 5-10 kph.
This varies with the type of dolphin. Bottlenose Dolphins can hold their breath for about 7 minutes, Belugas for about 12 minutes and Orcas for 20 minutes.
Guess what? It depends on the type of dolphin! Belugas and Bottlenose Dolphins have been known to dive to over 600m, Striped Dolphins to 200m. Most dives are shallower than this because their prey may not be down so deep.
Dolphins can see their prey in clear water but in dark, murky seas they use echolocation. Echolocation is finding things by using echoes. Dolphins can make special clicking sounds. Scientists think the sounds can be aimed by the melon at the front of the head. The clicks bounce back off any object in their path and make a kind of picture with sound. Dolphins can tell the size, shape and direction fish are travelling in. It means they can catch fish in total darkness.
Most dolphins eat fish. Some eat squid, molluscs or small crustaceans. Certain Orcas sometimes eat seals or even other dolphins.
Robin Petch and Kris Simpson, Dolphinspotter
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