Mention some of the most fascinating marine creatures and you really cannot ignore dolphins. Yes, they are and you might have already seen their adorable facial expressions. As they are playful, fun to watch, and intelligent, children love knowing interesting facts about them.
Interesting Dolphin Facts for Children
Most of us assume dolphins to be fish. Truly, they are not fish, but warm-blooded marine mammals. Closely-related to whales and porpoises, they regulate their body temperature internally and gives birth to young ones (do not lay eggs). There are more than 30 types of dolphins. Following are some dolphin facts for children.
Under the smooth and slippery skin of dolphins lies a thickened layer of fat known as blubber. This serves a major role in regulating body temperature in accordance to their surrounding environment. All dolphins are gifted with excellent vision and thinking ability. A mind-boggling fact about dolphins is their high IQ level that matches with a human toddler.
The most popularly known dolphin is the bottlenose. This dolphin weighs about 15-30 kg and measures 70-130 cm in length at birth. At maturity, it weighs 150-650 kg and reaches 2-4 m in length. The male dolphin is referred to as a bull, while the female is known as a cow. Consequently, the calf is used to refer to a young dolphin.
Found all over the globe, dolphins can adapt to varying water conditions, excluding the coldest Arctic and Antarctic oceans. Many of the dolphin habitats lie in the temperate oceans and tropical oceans. These creatures prefer to live in shallow water and coastal areas, especially in the continental shelves. Some species even thrive in the Amazon river.
Dolphins are social mammals, meaning that they prefer to live in groups, known as pods. In a group, there are at least 10-12 dolphins. This socializing behavior is most prominent while hunting for fish. While gathering food, they prefer to gather fish together. One fun dolphin fact for kids is their resting manner. They sleep with one eye open, so as to protect themselves from predators.
Mode of Communication
The communication method is highly advanced for these mammals. They make a characteristic sound and whistle as a way of communicating. According to marine scientists, each and every dolphin has a distinctive way of whistling, which differentiates itself from the others.
The breathing organ of dolphins is the blowhole, which you can see on the top portion of the head. While some dolphins can live underwater for as long as 30 minutes, others come to the ocean surface every 20 seconds for breathing. On an average, a dolphin can live underwater for approximately 10 minutes.
Swimming and locomotion skills are very advanced in dolphins. They can swim at a speed of about 35 km/hr. Their streamlined body makes them excellent swimmers. Scientific researches show that they had legs millions of years ago. And scientists are of the opinion that they were able to walk on land in those times.
Similar to the nocturnal bats, dolphins hunt for their food by means of echolocation. They send out clicking sounds (approximately 700 clicks per second) to locate objects around them. This echolocation method helps them in determining the shape, size, and distance of fish and other foods present in their surrounding.
Majority of the dolphin species are true carnivores. Squid and fish form their prime food items. At times of food scarcity, they devour crustaceans. Very few dolphins feed on phytoplankton in the ocean. You will find them in the coastal areas, where ample amount of food is available.
One fact worth mentioning is the current threat to this amazing mammal. Marine water population, particularly oil spills and tangling in fish nets are the two major threats to dolphins. As per Greek mythology, humans had a friendly relationship with the dolphins and killing them was an immoral act. Likewise, many more myths and legends revolve around these incredible sea creatures.