When we think of dolphins, the first thing that comes to our mind is they are playful and interesting to watch. No doubt, dolphin is the most intelligent marine animal in the world. However, there are a multitude of interesting things about this type of species.
Here is a brief synopsis of the lifecycle of dolphins. Dolphin breathes with the help of a blow hole it has in its head. Dolphins as such can’t stay under the water for long durations. They have to come up to the top of the water almost every minute in order to breathe. Dolphins have around one hundred teeth which help them to catch their prey. However, the purpose of their teeth is only limited to catching their prey, not for chewing them. A dolphin has ears in the form of tiny holes located on either side of its head and it can hear well with its ears.
In large water bodies like sea or ocean, dolphins always stay together as a group to protect themselves from enemies. The sharks are considered to pose the greatest threat to dolphins as enemies. When dolphins sense that an enemy is approaching, they immediately form a group in which the male dolphins circle around the female and baby dolphins to protect them. If the prey tries to carry out an attack on any of the dolphins, all the dolphins in the group come for help and chase their enemy away.
Here are some other interesting facts about dolphins. First of all, dolphins are mammals which mean they nurse their babies with their mammary glands. Though dolphins are shallow divers, they can go as deep as 260 metres under the ocean. Despite having to come up to the top of the water surface frequently to breathe, they can stay for as long as 15 minutes under the water. The dolphins employ a technique called echolation, with which they produce sounds to communicate with each other and that’s how they usually talk. Dolphins are social beings which stay as a group and help each other to find food, to look after their babies, and to protect themselves from enemies.
The largest type of dolphin is Oscra (or the Killer whale) that can grow up to 6 meters in length. The most commonly known and popular type of dolphins is the bottlenose dolphin. They are the ones which we see in live aquatic shows and TV series and movies. Dolphins are warm blooded animals and their internal body temperature is around 36 degrees. They have a thick layer called ‘blubber’ under the surface of their skin and this helps them to hold the required body temperature. While a human brain weighs about 1200-1300 grams, the brain of a bottlenose dolphin weighs about 1500-1600 grams. However, researches have shown that an average dolphin has the understanding capacity of a two-year old human child. Dolphins communicate with each other by whistling out sounds. Dolphins swim at a speed of 5 kmph to 12 kmph. However this depends on the species of the dolphin. And the fastest dolphin can clock a speed of 32 kmph.
One main advantage of dolphins to mankind is its use for therapeutic purposes. Number of aquariums uses dolphins to provide therapy for physically and mentally challenged people. The child is put in the pool with a floating device. When the dolphin moves around the child in a playful mood, it stimulates the nerves of the child and thus evokes quick response from the child. For some people, just watching the fun-filled activities of a dolphin itself stimulates a positive response from the child which will be evident when the child starts playing and having fun with the dolphins. Dolphins do love playing with children!
Dolphins have the ability to learn games quickly. Sometimes, they even come up with their own games and play with the children. Dolphins can play a host of ball games. Some of the most lovably watched activities of a dolphin are: playing basketball, ringing a bell, jumping through a ring, performing high jump, flipping in the water, and taking a stick that is thrown into the water.
I love watching TV channels like Animal Planet and Discovery that broadcasts programs about dolphins. One program that I really love watching on Discovery Channel is ‘Dolphins Explore’ on my cable TV powered by Dish Network.