Know your Dolphin
Fun Dolphin Facts:
- Thirteen different species of dolphin are found around the New Zealand coast
- The Mäori word for bottlenose dolphin is Terehu
- Compared to other animals, dolphins are believed to be very intelligent. They are as smart as apes, and the evolution of their larger brains is surprisingly similar to humans.
- The dolphins we encounter most are the Bottlenose Dolphins
- A dolphin calf nurses for up to two years. Calves stay with the mothers anywhere from three to eight years.
- Newborn: length 85cm – 1.3m
- Adult: length 1.9 – 3.9m
- Around 450 individual Dolphins live in the Bay of Islands area, ranging from Doubtless Bay in Northland to Tauranga
- Individuals living close to the shore feed primarily on a variety of inshore bottom-dwelling fish and invertebrate species
- Females usually reach sexual maturity at 5-13 years with males not maturing until 9-14 years of age
- Females breed every 3-5 years and calves suckle for around 2-3 years. Calving peaks are known to occur for most populations between spring and summer/autumn.
- Female bottlenose dolphins can live up to more than 50 years of age, and males can reach as old as 40-45 years
- Average Pod size is 12-18 animals
- Dolphins are carnivores (meat eaters)
- Dolphins have excellent eyesight and hearing as well as the ability to use echolocation for finding the exact location of objects
Facts you may not have known about Dolphins!
- It has been researched that dolphins are “re-entrants” and actually lived on land before adapting to the water. When studying their fins, scientists have found that they are actually formed like legs and toes. So maybe our closest sea friends were wolf-like land animals once.
- Images of dolphins have been found carved into the desert city of Petra, Jordan. Petra was established as early as 312 BC, so given that estimation dolphins have been around for quite a long time.
- Dolphins are the only animals give birth with the baby coming out tail first; the calf would drown if it was the other way.
- The blowhole of a dolphin is actually an adapted nose which has moved to the top of its head.
- While sleeping, a dolphin must stay at the surface so its blowhole is not covered with water and it only switches off one side of its brain to keep breathing and staying alert
- Dolphins must tell themselves when to breathe; it’s not an automatic response like it is for humans.