22 Delightful Facts You Didn’t Know About Dolphins

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1. In India, it’s against the law to capture dolphins for entertainment purposes as they’re highly intelligent and considered ‘non-human persons’ whose rights to life and liberty must be respected.

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Image: TJ Fitzsimmons

2. Dolphins are extremely intelligent animals. Bottlenose dolphins are one of the few species – besides humans and apes – that can recognize their own reflection in the mirror.

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Image: Pablo Heimplatz

3. Dolphins use echolocation, like bats. They make sounds that bounce off distant objects and create an echo. Listening for that echo reveals to them precisely where everything is.

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Image: Rudney Uezu

4. There are 36 dolphin species, found in every ocean.

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Image: Talia Cohen

Most dolphins are marine and live in the ocean or brackish waters along coastlines.

5. Dolphins are marine mammals. They must surface to breathe air and give birth to live young.

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Image: Damian Patkowski

6. A dolphin pregnancy last between nine and 16 months.

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Image: Fabrizio Frigeni

7. Dolphins have been known to protect humans when they’re in trouble.

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Image: TJ Fitzsimmons

A California surfer who once came face to face with a shark was surrounded by dolphins who escorted him safely to shore.

8. Dolphins are part of the family of whales that also includes orcas and pilot whales.

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Image: Yale Cohen

9. The largest dolphin, the orca, can grow to be over 30 feet long.

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Image: Bart

10. When sleeping, half of a dolphin’s brain goes to sleep while the other half stays awake.

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Image: Pixabay

This allows the dolphin to continue breathing and keep an eye out for potential predators.

11. Some species of dolphins can consume up to 30 pounds of fish per day.

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Image: Pixabay

12. Dolphins also have two stomachs: One for storage and one for digestion.

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Image: Ranae Smith

13. Their main diet consists mostly of fish and squid, which they track using echolocation.

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Image: Silviu Georgescu

14. Bottlenose dolphins can make up to 1,000 clicking noises per second.

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Image: Zhang

These sounds travel underwater until they encounter objects, then bounce back to their dolphin senders, revealing the location, size, and shape of their target.

15. Dolphins are very social animals, generally living in pods of two to 40 dolphins.

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Image: Ishan

16. Each dolphin’s dorsal fin is unique.

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Image: Hiro

No two are alike, just like snowflakes or fingerprints.

17. The social mammals also communicate by squeaking, whistling and clicking.

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Image: Jeremy

18. They can also hold their breath for a total of between 8 to 10 minutes.

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Image: Jeremy

19. Dolphins must tell themselves when to breathe. It’s not an automatic response like it is for humans.

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Image: Kammeran

20. A dolphin mother will nurse her calf until it is 2-3 years old.

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Image: Daniel

21. Just like humans, dolphin calves learn different behavioral traits from their mother through imitation.

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Image: Jess

22. Dolphins also have a distinct “personality”.

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Image: Pixabay

Some are introverted while others are more extroverted and socially playful.

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