Dolphins are undoubtedly among the most famous and beloved animals, as evidenced by the fact that they are often chosen as the protagonists of movies and that dolphins, aquatic circuses where they are forced to perform to entertain the public, unfortunately continue to have great success. All over the world. However, there are still few people who really know these wonderful cetaceans that live in our seas. That’s why we’ve compiled 10 interesting facts about dolphins that we should all know, to learn to truly love, respect and protect them.
They live all over the world, including in Italy
The common dolphin is widespread in temperate waters around the world, including Italy. In fact, it lives in the Mediterranean Sea, in particular in the Tyrrhenian Sea, in the Ionian Sea and in the Aegean Sea, along with other dolphins, such as the bottlenose dolphin and the striped dolphin.
They are mammals
Dolphins are marine mammals. This means that, like us and other land mammals, they give birth to babies and nurse them.
They can stay in apnea for an incredibly long time
Dolphins do not have gills, but lungs. That is why they need to return to the surface from time to time to get the air that, once underwater, they retain in their lungs. This air is then expelled through a nostril they have at the top of their head when they re-emerge. They can resist in apnea for a long time, even half an hour.
They are endangered
Several species are in danger of extinction. The population of common dolphins, for example, has experienced a decline of around 50% in the last 30 to 45 years. Therefore, in 2007 it was included in the list of endangered species of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
They know how to choose their allies well
Even male dolphins know how to recognize the best “teammates” with whom to form alliances, just like us humans, or even better! To say that it is a recent study published in Nature Communications.
Fishing puts their survival at risk
Although there are rules for the protection of dolphins that regulate the use of tools that can endanger their survival, even today many specimens are accidentally caught by fishing nets.
Dolphinariums are not a paradise
Many people are convinced that dolphins that live in captivity in dolphinariums are protected and their well-being is respected. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, as evidenced by a study by biologist Joan Gonzalvo, who carefully analyzed nine shows performed in some dolphinariums in Italy between 2012 and 2014. The study showed that during shows dolphins are forced to listen to music. .a very high volume, which induces them to perform behaviors that we find funny, but that in reality are a sign of aggressiveness by nature, such as beating the fins quickly.
In captivity they can become aggressive
In the wild, dolphins live in large groups, which in the oceans can include up to 60 individuals. Unfortunately, specimens forced into captivity often do not come from the same group and this causes intraspecific aggressions.
Every year they are killed in the Faroe Islands
In 2021, nearly 1,500 dolphins were slaughtered in the Faroe Islands during Grindadrap, the traditional hunt that takes place every year in the Danish archipelago. Unfortunately, a massacre still legal, which continues to be repeated.
There are very rare pink dolphins
There is a very rare pink dolphin. It is the Bolivian river dolphin, also called boto, inia or bufeo, which lives in fresh water. Its main physical characteristic is its pink color, particularly evident in males. Unfortunately it is endangered, but Bolivian fishermen and researchers are working together to save it.
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More fun facts about Dolphins:
- Since dolphins cannot breathe underwater, they have to swim to the surface of the ocean to breathe.
- Depending on the species, most females have their young between 9 and 17 months of age.
- Dolphins do not use their teeth to eat, but to catch fish, which they then swallow whole. They don’t actually have the jaw muscles to chew food.
- Dolphins often show a playful attitude that makes them popular in human culture. They can be seen jumping out of the water, swimming in the waves, fighting and interacting with people who swim in the water from time to time.
- Dolphins are predators. Fish, squid and shellfish are on their prey list. A 130 kg dolphin eats about 16 kg of fish a day.
- Dolphins have not always lived in water. Millions of years ago, the ancestors of dolphins roamed the earth. The dolphins we know today evolved from uniform hoofed animals that had hooves at the end of each leg. But about 50 million years ago, ancestors decided that the ocean was a better place to live. Evidence of this evolutionary history can be seen in dolphins to date. Dolphins and adult whales have remains of finger bones on their fins, as well as remains of leg bones.
- They are as intelligent as apes and their brains evolve amazingly as humans.
- Dolphins are part of the whale family, which includes killer whales and whales.
- The dolphin takes care of the young up to two years.
- Their sense of touch is well developed but they have no sense of smell.
- During sleep, the dolphin needs to stay afloat, so its discharge mouth is not covered with water and only closes one side of its brain to keep it breathing and alert.