10 Things You Never Knew About Dolphins
If there is one thing we can all agree on, it's that we all love dolphins. There is just something magical about seeing a pod of dolphins gently playing in the waters off Topsail Island. It seems no matter who you are or where you are from, spotting a dolphin is a joyous experience. But, what do we really know about dolphins? I was surprised by how many things I didn't know. So, this week we have some fun facts that you can share with your friends and loved ones the next time you spot a pod of dolphins on Topsail Island.
You can find them all over the world
Dolphins live in nearly all aquatic environments. This includes oceans, coastal waters, estuaries and even in fresh water. No wonder they are so universally loved and admired. From Africa to Alaska, Scotland to South America, it seems these elegant creatures are everywhere.
Bottlenose dolphins sleep with one half of their brain at a time, and keep one eye open. It's believed they do this to keep an eye out for their group - to make sure they stick together - and to look out for predators like sharks.
Don't race a dolphin
When most of us see dolphins they are just gliding along at a leisurely pace of around 3 mph. However, did you know that dolphins can sprint at over 30 mph?! Now that's fast!
Dolphins may need to save for retirement
While most dolphins live to be around age 17, many live well over 50 years! That's a lot of swimming!
The unique Amazon River dolphins
Did you know that the Amazon River is the largest river in the world by volume? It is also a freshwater river, but that won't stop dolphins from making it their home. In fact, the Amazon is home to four unique species of dolphins that are only found in the Amazon river.
Dolphins stick together
Dolphins travel in pods, but what is even more unique about these mammals is that they stick together when one of their members is sick or injured. Dolphins have a very strong drive to help one another.
They have no table manners
It's true – dolphins would make your mother cringe if she watched them eat! Dolphins never chew their food, they just swallow their fish whole. They always eat the fish head first so as not to be injured by the fish's gills and scales.
Don't challenge a dolphin to a diving contest
If a dolphin challenges you to a diving contest, don't take the bait. These incredible creatures can dive to depths of over 1,000 feet! This would easily kill a human, but dolphins are able to survive the incredible pressure of diving that deeply.
Dolphins are very smart
Bottlenose dolphins are one of the few species, along with apes and humans, that have the ability to recognize themselves in a mirror. This is considered 'reflective' of their intelligence. Dolphins are also among the few animals that have been documented using tools. In Shark Bay (in Western Australia), dolphins fit marine sponges over their beaks to protect them from sharp, harmful rocks as they forage for fish.
They are helicopter parents
You think your mom and dad never left you alone? Try being a dolphin. It is in the dolphin's nature to stick with their mothers for a long time before they leave their pod. Some stay with their mothers for 3 or even 8 years!
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