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ALL ABOUT WHALES!
What is a Whale? Whale Information Sheets Anatomy and Behavior Extreme Whales Whale Myths Whale Evolution Whale Classification Whale Glossary Whale Activities Whale Index

BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN
Tursiops truncatus
Dolphin Printout
Dolphin Conect-the-Dots
Dolphin Anatomy: Label Me!
Dolphin Theme Page

GENERAL DESCRIPTION
The Atlantic bottlenose dolphins are small cetaceans that have a long, beaklike snout, a falcate (sickle-shaped) dorsal fin, and sharp teeth. They are Odontoceti (toothed whales) and have one blowhole. These dolphins live in small groups called pods.



SIZE
The bottlenose dolphin grows to be at most 12 feet (3.7 m) long, sometimes weighing more than 1,400 pounds (635 kg). Most are smaller than this.

SHAPE AND FINS
Bottlenose Dolphins have stream-lined bodies and a rounded head with a distinctive beak. They have a tall, falcate (sickle-shaped) dorsal fin and broad, slightly pointed flippers.

DIET AND TEETH
Bottlenose dolphins are hunters that fish mostly at the surface of the water, eating mostly fish and squid . They have many pairs of sharp, pointed teeth distributed in both the upper and lower jaws.

PREDATORS OF DOLPHINS
Some sharks (including tiger sharks, dusky sharks and bull sharks) and orcas will prey upon dolphins. Dolphins are also often trapped in people's fishing nets.

SOCIAL GROUPS
Bottlenose dolphins live in small pods of up to 12 whales; they are very social animals. Often, many pods group together to form congregations of hundreds of dolphins.

DIVING, JUMPING, AND BOW RIDING
Dolphins can dive down to more than 1,000 feet (300 m) and can jump up to 20 feet (6 m) out of the water.

A bow rider is a dolphin that hitches a rides in the bow wave in front of a ship. The dolphin surfs using the pressure created in front of a moving ship.

SPOUTING - BREATHING
Dolphins breathe air at the surface of the water through a single blowhole located near the top of the head. They need to breathe about every 2 minutes, but can hold their breath for several minutes. Their blow is a single, explosive cloud.

SPEED
Dolphins are very fast swimmers.

HABITAT AND RANGE
Bottlenose dolphins live near the coast and inshore waters from northern Cape Hatteras to southern Florida and westward through the Gulf of Mexico. Another population lives near the continental shelf off New Jersey. Bottlenose dolphins live in different areas during the different parts of their life cycle, for example, breeding and giving birth.



LIFE SPAN
Bottlenose dolphins have a maximum life span of about 25 years.

POPULATION COUNT
Bottlenose dolphins are in no danger as their numbers are abundant.

CLASSIFICATION
The bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) is a toothed whale (Suborder Odontoceti) It is one of 76 cetacean species, and are marine mammals.

Kingdom Animalia (animals)
Phylum Chordata (vertebrates)
Class Mammalia (mammals)
Order Cetacea (whales and dolphins)
Suborder Odontoceti (toothed whales)
Family Delphinidae
Genus Tursiops
Species truncatus


BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN ACTIVITIES

Dolphin Printout A K-3 level print-out about dolphins

Dolphin Anatomy: Label Me!

A first grade addition activity. Solve the 1-digit addition problems, then do letter substitutions to find the name of a whale.

A Bottlenose dolphin word hunt activity - For second and third graders.

A dolphin quiz to take using the Little Explorers Picture Dictionary.

Dolphin Theme Page



Information Sheets About Whales
(and other cetaceans)

Just click on a cetacean's name to go to that information sheet.

BELUGA WHALE

BLUE WHALE

BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN

BOWHEAD WHALE

GRAY WHALE

HUMPBACK WHALE

KILLER WHALE

MINKE WHALE

NARWHAL

ORCA

RIGHT WHALES

SPERM WHALE




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