All about the Bottlenose
Adults range 6.6 and 13.1 ft and 330 and 1,430 lb. Males are, on average, slightly longer and considerably heavier than females. Their size varies considerably with habitat. Bottlenose dolphins can live for more than 40 years. Bottlenose dolphins live in groups typically of 10–30 members, called pods, but group size varies from single individuals up to more than 1,000.
Dolphins are active predators and eat a wide variety of fishes, squids, and crustaceans such as shrimps. The foods available to a dolphin vary with its geographic locationIts cone-like teeth serve to grasp, but do not chew food. When they encounter a shoal of fish, they work as a team to herd them towards the shore to maximize the harvest. Dolphins also feed on individual, nonschooling fishes. A bottlenose dolphin may use its tail flukes to flip a fish out of the water, and then retrieve the stunned prey.
- The dolphin's search for food is aided by a form of sonar known as echolocation it locates objects by producing sounds and listening for the echos.
- Dolphins have sharp eyesight. The eyes are located at the sides of the head and have a tapetum lucidum, or reflecting membrane, at the back of the retina, which aids vision in dim light.
Travel in PODS
Bottlenose dolphins communicate through burst pulsed sounds, whistles, and body language. Examples of body language include leaping out of the water, snapping jaws, slapping the tail on the surface and butting heads. Lacking vocal chords, they produce sounds using six air sacs near their blow hole. Each animal has a uniquely identifying, frequency-modulated narrow-band signature vocalization (signature whistle)
During the breeding season, males compete for access to females. Such competition can take the form of fighting other males or of herding females to prevent access by other males. Mating occurs belly to belly. Newborn bottlenose dolphins are 2.6–4.6 ft long and weigh 20–66 lb. The gestation period averages 12 months. Births can occur at any time of year, although peaks occur in warmer months
Some large shark species, such as the tiger shark, the dusky shark, the great white shark and the bull shark, prey on the bottlenose dolphin, especially calves. The bottlenose dolphin is capable of defending itself by charging the predator; dolphin 'mobbing' behavior of sharks can occasionally prove fatal for the shark. Targeting a single adult dolphin can be dangerous for a shark of similar size. Killer whale populations in New Zealand and Peru have been observed preying on bottlenose dolphins, but this seems rare, and other orcas may swim with dolphins. Swimming in pods allows dolphins to better defend themselves against predators. Bottlenose dolphins either use complex evasive strategies to outswim their predators, or mobbing techniques to batter the predator to death or force it to flee.
The Complete 2015 SeaWorld "Blue Horizons" Dolphin Show