Dolphins are very intelligent creatures who can do incredible things. One of the most interesting facts about dolphins is their extra sense, echolocation, also known as sonar.
Echolocation is a dolphin’s unique way of seeing underwater to locate and track its prey. A dolphin’s head contains sensitive organs which allow it to send and receive sound waves. These sound waves bounce off underwater objects, giving the dolphin information about size and distance.
Graceful swimmers, dolphins move through water with powerful up-and-down strokes created by their tails. Common dolphins can dive as deep as 840 feet. They can stay underwater for about eight minutes. Dolphins are quite fast; in fact, scientists suggest they can swim up to 30 miles per hour.
A dolphin also uses its tail to slap the surface of the water, which creates huge splashes and noises that travel over half a mile underwater. Scientists believe this may also be a type of communication.
The common dolphin has a varied diet. It eats many species of fish and squid who live fewer than 660 feet deep, including schooling fish, squid, shrimp, and crabs. The dolphin’s beak is lined with 57 pairs of teeth on both its upper and lower jaws, which are ideal for holding slippery fish. Dolphins can consume about five percent of their body weight daily, which can be a lot considering they weigh 220 to 300 pounds
Currently, there are quite a few risks to common dolphins due to human activity. One significant risk is the amount of pollution in water. Both chemicals and plastic in their aquatic homes have a huge negative impact on the health of dolphins. Efforts to reduce pollution have a long way to go.
[Sources: Encyclopedia of Animals; dolphins_world.com]