10 Cool things about dolphins

1. Parties in the ocean

This majestic animal often shows his beautiful appearance by jumping out of the water and putting on a show for everyone to see. He is not shy and likes to socialise with dolphins and humans alike. These party animals live in large groups of up to 1,000 dolphins. As one big happy family, they like to bond with each other by playing and hunting together to get all the food they can eat. A group of dolphins will swim up to a school of fish and take turns to swim into the middle of the group to feast.

2. Midnight feast

Speaking of food, a dolphin has more than enough space to fit the food buffet, as he has two stomachs, just like a cow. He can eat as much as 13.6kg of fish a day. Since he eats so much, he uses one stomach to store all his food, and the other to digest it.

3. To breathe or not to breathe

A dolphin does not only jump out of the water to show off, he also does this to breathe. Believe it or not, dolphins cannot breathe underwater. Some species come up for air every 20 seconds, while others can stay underwater for up to 30 minutes. He doesn’t breathe through his mouth – he breathes through a blowhole at the top of his body.

4. Mind-boggling sleep

Not being able to breathe underwater, the dolphin had to figure out a way to sleep and adapt to living almost permanently underwater. This clever creature created a mind-boggling technique to stay awake and sleep at the same time – he sleeps by keeping the one side of his brain awake, while the other side is in a deep sleep. Amazing! What is even cooler about it is that the dolphin’s one eye is open while the other one is closed. This makes the dolphin aware of his surroundings and makes it very difficult for any predator to sneak up on him.

5. Dolphin senses

Don’t try to surprise a dolphin, whether he is asleep or not. A dolphin is an excellent listener and he has a unique language. He uses sound waves to communicates with others by emitting a variety of sounds. He can hear a frequency range that is 10 times broader than humans’. This means that he can hear sounds we can’t. There is one sense that the dolphin is bad at – his sense of smell. He won’t be able to smell even the pongiest socks in your room.

6. Hundred pearly whites

While some species of dolphins have up to 240 teeth, the carnivorous dolphin has about 100 teeth in his mouth – not that he uses them to eat, though. He grabs as much prey as he can and then swallows it whole! His multiple teeth are used to grab objects and he uses them when he fights.

7. Dolphin echoes

Did you know that when a dolphin makes a sound, the sound waves bounce against objects and heads back to the dolphin? It is called echolocate and he can do it because of a special organ in his head called a melon. No, this is not the fruit you can eat. The melon emits the sound waves that help him to locate objects better in the ocean. This is how a dolphin knows exactly how far an object is. Imagine having this superpower! You will be able to close your eyes and walk around without bumping into anything. Even though a dolphin can see, it helps him to ‘see’ even better and navigate his way through deep waters. Oh, and I forgot to mention what a dolphin can do with his eyes – he can move them separately from each other.

8. Brains of the ocean

Dolphins are the smart creatures of the ocean. A dolphin’s brain is about the same size as a human’s. His brain is also four to five times larger than other species of about the same size. He can also recognise himself in a mirror.

9. Marathon swimmers

The dolphin is a fast swimmer who can reach unimaginable speeds and maintain the speed for an extended period. At a speed of 40km/h, he swims about three times faster than the fastest human on earth. He usually travels up to 12km/h, and when he wants to gain speed without wasting energy, he jumps out of the water. The most energy efficient travelling speeds for the dolphin are between 6 and 8km/h.

10. Live babies

Dolphins are mammals, just like humans, meaning the mother dolphin gives birth to live babies. The baby is born with his tail first. Dolphins are the only mammals who give birth in this unique way.