Bottlenose Dolphin

This is one of the most common and familiar dolphin species. It is found worldwide but often appears along the Atlantic coast of North America, from Cape Hatteras in North Carolina to Argentina, and along the Pacific up to northern California.

Bottlenosed dolphins live in shallow water close to land, and they are generally spotted breaching in large bays. They often enter lagoons and the mouths of large rivers. They do not appear to migrate, but rather make a lifelong journey that may take them to all parts of the world. Since they prefer warmer waters, they tend to move between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans via the Indian ocean.

The bottlenose dolphin is the largest of the beaked dolphins, which are oceanic dolphins with short, stout snouts. Males are much larger than females. This species shows a high degree of intelligence.

Bottlenosed dolphins travel at about 20 kmh (12 mph) and are rarely seen travelling alone. They hunt as a team, corralling shoals of fish and shrimps by circling around them and taking turns to dive through the shoal to snatch mouthfuls of food. These dolphins are known to herd fish on to mudflats and then slide up the shore to seize their prey. Bottlenosed dolphins will also follow shrimp boats to feed off the discarded scraps. Individuals consume around 7 kg (15.4 lb) per day.

Distribution: Tropical and temperate coastal waters worldwide; both Pacific and Atlantic coasts of the Americas, and around Hawaii.

Habitat: Warm shallow water and cooler, deeper waters.

Food: Fish, squid, shrimp and eels.

Size: 1.75 - 4 m (5.7 - 13 ft); 150 - 400 kg (330 - 880 lb).

Maturity: 5-12 years.

Breeding: Breeding times vary with location. Single calf born every 2 - 3 years; gestation is about 12 months.

Life span: 40 years.

Status: Unknown.