The Bottlenose Dolphin

Just one of the exciting mammals coming to the Raymond Zoo

See these beautiful animals up close, and learn some facts about them

TAXONOMY:

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Cetacea
  • Family: Delphinidae
  • Genus: Tursiops
  • Species: truncatus

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Description

Bottlenose Dolphins are 2 to 3.9 meters in size (that is 6.6-12.8 feet). On average, they weigh in at 331.5-442 pounds. Different ecosystems create dolphins of different sizes; for example those who live offshore in colder environments are typically larger than those that don't. Typically, the males are also considerably larger than females. They have "fusiform" streamlined bodies that allow them to move through the water with ease. Bottlenoses' backs range from grey to dark grey in color with a white lower jaw and belly.

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Senses

  • HEARING: Dolphins' acute sense of hearing is very well developed; the auditory cortex of their brain is highly developed.
  • SIGHT: Dolphins are able to see in and above water using their acute vision sense. Their eyes are more adapted to seeing underwater.
  • TOUCH/TACTILE: Dolphin's have touch-sensitive areas; in particular they are near the blowhole, eyes, and mouth.
  • TASTE: They have some taste buds, but very few and they are located at the base on the tongue and are not well developed. But, they do have a keen ability to distinguish chemicals (ie: citric acid).
  • SMELL: Olfactory lobes of the brain and olfactory nerves are not present in dolphins. Therefore, it is likely that they do not have a sense of smell.
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RELATIVES

  • Scientists believe that early whales arose as a species about 50 million years ago from primitive mammals that are now extinct that had ventured into the ocean. These are dolphins earliest ancestors.
  • Modern odonotocetes and mysticetes are recorded approximately 5 to 7 million years ago.
  • The dolphin genus, Tursiops appears roughly 5 million years ago.
  • The closest modern day relatives to Bottlenose Dolphins are quite surprising. Studies reveal that even toed ungulates like hippopotamuses are closely related to dolphins.

What we feed our dolphins

Dolphins are carnivorous animals. To keep our dolphins healthy and allow them to maintain their normal diets we feed them a variety of fish such as mackerel, cod, herring, and squid.
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Their habitat here at the Raymond Zoo

Bottlenose Dolphins can live in a variety of different habitats. They are found worldwide throughout different temperate as well as tropical regions. They may live in coastal waters as well as the open ocean depending on their ecotype. Coastal ecotypes are adapted for warm weather and shallow waters. Their bodies are smaller for extreme maneuverability. It also aids the dispersion of heat in their bodies. Coastal Bottlenose Dolphins are typically found in harbors, bays, lagoons, and estuaries. Offshore ecotypes are found in the Raymond Zoo. They conserve heat in their larger bodies. They are suited for deeper and colder water and are quite deep divers. Our aquatic animals live in our 5.7 million gallon aquarium tank. Because of the sometimes harsh New Hampshire climate, it is much more realistic and comfortable for the us to host the offshore bottlenose ecotype here, who are more suited for colder temperatures.

Bottlenose Dolphins outside of the Raymond Zoo

(The sections of this map that are indicated in dark blue are where documented sightings of these animals have occurred.)


Bottlenose Dolphins can be found in the wild in temperate and tropical waters across the globe. The only real limitation of where they can distribute depends on a temperature range. Bottlenose Dolphins generally only live in surface water temperatures of "10° to 32°C (50°-90° F)."

-http://bit.ly/1RMIieo

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Human Threats to Dolphins and Whales

  • Whaling
  • entanglement in fishing gear
  • climate change
  • ship strikes
  • toxic contamination
  • oil and gas development
  • habitat degradation
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HOW YOU CAN HELP

Visit www.wwf.org or the official Raymond Zoo Website: www.raymondzoo.com to find out how you can help dolphins, whales, and other wildlife.