Wanting to know some dolphin facts? Do you simply love these mammals and what to know more? Then you have come to the right place! Dolphins are wonderful to watch or swim with and there is nothing better than spotting a pod of dolphins frolicking in the wake on a boat trip. This page will give you some key facts about dolphins and tell you where the best places are to see them in Australia.
What is a Dolphin?
Dolphins are mammals just like us which means they feed off milk as young and maternal care is extremely important for survival.
There are over 30 different species of dolphins but the bottlenose has by far the largest numbers. It is this type of dolphin that you are likely to meet in Australia.
Some fast Dolphin Facts:
They are generally between 2m and 4m in length.
They can stay underwater for about 15 minutes
They can swim 5-12 km per hour
The lifespan of a dolphin is around 20 years.
The gestation period before a baby dolphin (calf) is born is about 12 months.
Where do they live?
Dolphins are found all over the world and prefer tropical/warm waters so you are unlikely to find any in cold waters. They like shallow waters too (particularly when they are about to give birth)
In Australia you will find them right across the East and West Coasts of Australia. (See section below for more information)
What Do They Eat?
Dolphins mainly eat fish and squid. Another of the dolphin facts....They tend to hunt in their pods and actually force a school of fish into a tight area, allowing all the dolphins to catch the fish more easily.
How Do They Reproduce?
Here's another of my interesting dolphin facts..Dolphins copulate belly to belly. The gestation period is usually around 12 months but this depends on the species of dolphin.
The young calf is then nurtured with milk for up to 18 months. The milk allows them to develop a thick layer of blubber which insulates them, keeping them warm.
They tend to stay close to their Mums for about 6 years.
How do Dolphins Communicate?
Dolphins make special noises that sound a bit like a high pitched "squeak" "whistle" or "clicking" noise. Many scientists believe that dolphins can actually communicate to each other by making these noises.
It is thought that the whistle noises are used to communicate to other dolphins and the "squeaks" are to warn of danger.
Dolphins also use sound a bit like a radar. "Echolocation" is the word used to describe animals that can emit noises and monitor the echo that sound makes as it bounces off other objects. They can then use these echos to navigate and locate objects. Bats as well as dolphins have this ability.
Why Are Dolphins Intelligent?
Most scientists would agree that Dolphins are very intelligent, although some believe that there is insufficient evidence.
The three key facts that point to intelligence are
1) It's playfulness and ability to communicate
2) The actual size of its brain is bigger than a humans.
3) It has one section of its brain that holds all the senses. A human brain does not work like this and it is thought that having all the senses in one area could mean they are able to make decisions quicker and better than humans.
Where do Dolphins Sleep?
One of the less known dolphin facts is that they have the ability to switch off part of their brain. So they are able to swim with the rest of the pod and still sleep. The other members of the pod become the protectors of all the dolphins, allowing some of them to "sleep"
Video of Dolphins
This video shows how Baby dolphins (calves) learn from their Mums and shows how they catch fish. It also gives some great dolphin facts:
Where To See Dolphins In Australia
There are plenty of places to see dolphins and most coastal towns will offer boat trips to view dolphins. The ones below however are most famous for seeing dolphins:
This is a very well known spot in Australia where the dolphins come right up to the shore line. A magical experience
The area around here in SHARK BAY is also great for dolphin watching
Rockingham - Head south from Perth towards Mandurah and you'll hit Rockingham. This is another great spot for dolphin watching.
Jervis Bay - a beautiful part of the world with beaches to die for. Well worth a trip. (3 hours South of Sydney) Click here for more information on
Port Stephens is great for dolphins and whale watching and is 3 hours north of Sydney.
Hervey Bay Whales and usually dolphins here too. A great destination for visiting Fraser Island too. This is an island made totally of sand and you even get to drive along the beach. A few hours drive from Brisbane in Queensland. Fraser Island Australia.