Although you may only be familiar with one type of dolphin, bottlenose dolphins, there are actually 26 different types of dolphins in the world. Bottlenose dolphins are common and are the type that you would see at marine aquatic parks all over the world. It is also the species that is most studied by biologists and is considered to be one of the most intelligent animals on earth.
Bottlenose dolphins have a thick beak, robust body and range in color from black to gray. Their underbelly is lighter than their top and they can live quite near the shore or out in the open water. Males are usually larger than females and can have a range in length from 1.8 m to 3.8 m. There can be quite a difference in weight as well with smaller dolphins weighing in at 300 pounds and their larger counterparts weighing at as much as 1400 pounds. Males usually live to the age of 40 to 45 while females can live to be 50 years or older. As well, it is not uncommon for a 45-year-old dolphin to give birth.
Dolphins live and play together and often form a group of 2 to 15 dolphins. They are a cooperative group of sea mammals that play together and use echolocation frequency to capture and locate their prey. They can swim right towards the fish and eat them whole or they can strike the fish first using their flukes, knock them right out of the water and then consume them.
There are many different types of dolphins inhabiting many of the coastal waters, but bottlenose dolphins are most commonly seen. Most live between the latitudes of 45° north and 45° south of the equator. Some also live in the waters found in the northern parts of Europe.
There has been a lot of controversy during recent years about the fishing practices used to catch tuna and how dolphins are becoming a breed that could possibly become extinct if this practice is continued. Bottlenose dolphins are especially affected. These dolphins get trapped in the fishing nets used for tuna fishing and other types of dolphins can get caught as well. While plans have been developed to keep tuna fishing dolphin friendly, there needs to be more work done on a global basis to make sure that dolphins are protected.
Bottlenose dolphins are very social animal and can develop quite a relationship with people. In marine parks a trainer and a dolphin can become very close and can indeed start to understand one another. They are an intelligent attitude animal that deserves a lot of respect, care and understanding. While other types of dolphins are also intelligent and beautiful to behold, more is known about the bottlenose dolphins since they are more common and have been the study of many scientists throughout recent years.