Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search


`Fin' Facts

January 17, 1995



Do you know that dolphins are mammals, considered ``toothed whales''? They breathe air through the blowhole on the top of their head. They have very good eyesight in the air and underwater, and can travel as fast as 30 m.p.h.

Skip to next paragraph

Dolphins communicate through different sounds. They use ``clicks'' like sonar to navigate and find food. Some dolphins have their own special ``identity'' whistle. When a baby is born, it almost immediately starts communicating with its mom.

There are 32 different species of dolphins. The bottlenose dolphin (pictured above) is the most common dolphin found along coastlines and featured in books, movies, and TV shows. In the United States, most bottlenoses average 9-feet-long. Females weigh 400 to 500 lbs.; males weigh 500 to 600 lbs. They are usually gray in color and have a medium-size rostrum (beak or snout) compared with other dolphins. (The curved fin on their back is called the dorsal fin).

Bottlenose dolphins look like they're smiling because of the way their mouths are shaped. They usually have 100 teeth.