- Their short, thick beaks are what give them the nickname bottlenose
- Dark gray on upper back fading to a lighter gray on sides. White to light pink belly
- Length 6-13 feet
- Weight 330-1435 pounds
- Found throughout the tropical and subtropical latitudes around the world
- Nearshore to open ocean
- Often found within 20 miles of shore, in harbors, bays, lagoons, estuaries, and around large islands
- Wide variety of fishes, squid, and crustaceans
- Bottlenose dolphins may eat 15-30 pounds of fish a day!
- They are eaten by killer whales and some large sharks
- Bottlenose dolphins hunt their prey by “fish whacking,” where they strike a fish with their tail flukes and knock it clear out of the water
- Bottlenose dolphins love to ride the bow waves of boats and are known to interact with people in the wild
- Marine mammal scientists can recognize individual bottlenose dolphins by their unique markings and their own unique whistles. Some dolphins that spend a lot of time together will even copy each other’s signature whistle!
Sources: Voices in the Sea; NCEAS; Alaska Fisheries Science Center
Photo: Howard Hall
To hear a bottlenose dolphin’s call and see videos of them swimming, visit Voices in the Sea, a collaboration between the Pacific Life Foundation and Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
Come celebrate these amazing animals during Birch Aquarium’s annual Whale Fest!