Bottle nose Dolphin

Estrella Cabral (Period 3) 5/16

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Bottlenose dolphins live in a variety of places. They live from coastal waters to open oceans. Bottlenose dolphins live in tropical areas around the world. You can spot them swimming and jumping off the waters in UK and Ireland (National Geographic).

Scientists discovered that there is two types of bottlenose dolphin ecotypes (forms). They are coastal and offshore (Sea World Parks and Entertainment). The coastal ecotype bottlenose dolphin is adapted for warm, shallow waters because of its smaller body and larger flippers (Sea World Parks and Entertainment). According to Sea World Parks and Entertainment, their small body and large flippers "suggest increased maneuverability and heat dissipation".

On the other hand, the offshore ecotype live in cooler, deeper waters. Their larger body helps the offshore bottlenose dolphins conserve their heat and defend themselves from other predators attacking (Sea World Parks and Entertainment).

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Bottlenose dolphins swim in the water and come up for air. Bottlenose dolphins usually swim at a speed of about 3-7 mph. Studies show that the maximum speed that Bottlenose Dolphins can go 18-22 mph (Sea World Parks and Entertainment).

These dolphins will sometimes porpoise at surface at the surface. They swim fast to break free of the water, jumping up and down continuously. Porpoising uses less energy than swimming, so bottlenose dolphins use it frequently (Sea World Parks and Entertainment)

Dolphins have pectoral flippers, which help them swim and move. They are mainly used to stir and sometimes stop with the help of the fluke. The fluke is the lobe of the dolphin's tail and it is used to move the dolphin forward in water. The fluke is moved by the longitudinal muscles in the back (Sea World Parks and Entertainment).

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Body Covering

The skin of dolphins has no hair or sweat glands it also feels rubbery and very smooth. The outer layer of the skin (the epidermis) is about 10 to 20 times thicker than the epidermis of mammals that live on land. The dermis is the layer beneath the epidermis, which contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue (Sea World Parks and Entertainment).

The bottlenose dolphin skin is gray or dark gray, which helps as camouflage from predators. If you look at the bottlenose dolphin from above, the gray blends in with the ocean's dark color. On the other hand, if you look at the dolphin from below, it's light color belly will blend in with the ocean's bright surface (Sea World Parks and Entertainment).

Dolphin skin is alike to human skin, their skin flakes and peels and is replaced by new skin cells. A bottlenose dolphin's skin flakes nine times faster than a human's skin does. According to Sea World Parks and Entertainment "A bottlenose dolphin's outermost skin layer may be replaced every two hours" (Sea World Parks and Entertainment).


Dolphins eat a variety of foods including fish, squids and crustaceans (shrimp). The geographic location of the dolphin depends what food is available for them to eat.

An adult bottlenose daily intake of food is around 4% to 6% of their body weight. A nursing mother has a grater intake of food daily, which is around 8% of their body weight (Sea World Parks and Entertainment).

Dolphins are active predators and they have hunting strategies that are varied. When the dolphins are traveling in groups and in open waters, they encircle small schools of fishes into a small dense mass (Sea World Parks and Entertainment). The dolphins take turns attacking the school of fish. Dolphins not only feed on schooling fishes, but also on individual fishes .

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Bottlenose dolphins are mammals so they reproduce sexually. The sexual maturity of a dolphin varies by whether the dolphin is a female or male and by their location (Sea World Parks and Entertainment). The average dolphin female, in Florida, is sexually mature around the age of 5-12, and in the U.S. females become mature around 7-13 years old. Around the age of 14.5, males are sexually mature (Sea World Park and Entertainment).

Bottlenose dolphins breed throughout the year, and have multiple mates. They engage in head butting and tooth scratching (Sea World Parks and Entertainment).

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A dolphin holds its breath underwater, and uses one blowhole at the top of its head to breath. The dolphin opens its blowhole, before reaching the surface and starts exhaling and when it reaches the surface, it quickly inhales and closes the blowhole (Sea World Parks and Entertainment). Every respiration, a dolphin exchanges 80% or more of air from the lungs, which is more efficient than humans, which exchange 17% of their lung air with each breath (Sea World Parks and Entertainment).

Thermoregulation (body temperature) and Sleep

Dolphins maintain a constant body temperature like other mammals do. Their core body temperature is about 96.8°to 98.6°F (Sea World Parks and Entertainment).

When researchers studied bottlenose dolphins, the found out that they spend 33% of the day sleeping. Observations and studies show that deep sleep only happens in one brain hemisphere at a time (Sea World Parks and Entertainment).

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Other Info

  • Dolphins do not chew their food, they rub it on the ocean floor until it is in many small pieces to eat (Sea World Parks and Entertainment).
  • Bottlenose dolphin produce high-pitched clicks that help them navigate and find food called echolocation (Ten Facts about Bottlenose Dolphins!)
  • Dolphins are not fish, they are actually more related to humans than they are related to fish (Giles 4).
  • Bottlenose dolphins live up to 20 years or less (Sea World Parks and Entertainment)
  • 1% to 2% of bottlenose dolphins live up to the age of 40s and 50s (Sea World Parks and Entertainment)
  • The brain of bottlenose dolphin is bigger than many other mammals that are their size (Sea World Parks and Entertainment).
  • Studies show that a bottlenose dolphin's most sensitive areas are the blowhole area and around the eyes and mouth (Sea World Parks and Entertainment).
  • It is assumed that bottlenose dolphins don't have a sense of smell because the dolphins have no olfactory lobes in their brain (Sea World Parks and Entertainment).
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Works cited

"Bottlenose Dolphins." Sea Worlds Park and Entertainment. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 May 2016. <>.

Fleetham, David. "School of Bluestripe Snapper Fish." SIRS Discoverer. ProQuest Staff, n.d. Web. 12 May 2016. <>.

Giles, Bridget. Dolphins. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.

"Ten Facts about Bottlenose Dolphin." National Geographic KIDS. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 May 2016. <>.