Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus)
Facts about Bottlenose Dolphins
Most of the dolphins seen from the shores in the United States are Bottlenose dolphins. They can be found in oceans all over the world usually in tropical and temperate waters.
Adults range from 6 to 13 feet in length and on average weigh about 400 pounds.1 Dolphins that live in colder waters (such as near Scotland) tend to be larger than those that live in warm waters. The adult males are usually larger than the females. They are gray in color, darkest on the top and almost white underneath.
Bottlenose dolphins usually swim 3 to 7 mph but can swim at a fast speed of 20 to 30 mph. Because they are mammals, dolphins must rise to the surface to breathe. They breathe on an average of every 5-8 minutes.
The name Bottlenose came from the appearance of their bottle-shaped nose. They have cone shaped teeth which they use for catching food. They do not chew. They eat 10 to 30 pounds of food a day, primarily fish and occasionally shrimp, crab and squid.
Bottlenose dolphins are great communicators. Much research has been done discovering their advanced communication skills. With a wide variety of vocalizations (whistles and clicks), it is hypothesized that dolphins may have a complex language which we hope to someday understand. We do know that each dolphin has its own signature whistle which it uses to identify itself. Baby dolphins soon learn their mother's signature whistle. Also we have observed that dolphins converse with one another. Instructions given to one dolphin have been transferred to a second dolphin who successfully completes the original instructions.
Dolphin Echolocation See an example!