Dolphins are small toothed aquatic mammals with superb hearing that live in saltwater and freshwater environments. Dolphins communicate with many different vocalizations, such as clicks and whistles, have advanced hearing that works underwater or above water, and can track prey using echolocation. The smallest dolphin, the Maui Dolphin, is only about 6 feet (1.82 m) in length while the largest dolphin, the Orca, can grow up to 31 feet (9.5 m) long. While mostly found in saltwater oceans, some dolphin species live in rivers, while others are kept in captivity and trained to perform tricks. Sleek and playful, the dolphin can reach speeds of over 18 miles an hour and are known to enjoy leaping out of the water and playing in the wake of a passing boat.

What do dolphins eat?

A dolphin’s diet typically consists of a variety of fish, squid, shrimp, jellyfish, and octopuses. Their diet also depends on the species of the dolphin (there are more than 40 species of dolphin), where the dolphin lives, and the other wildlife that lives around them.

How long do dolphins live?

The life expectancy of a dolphin is affected by their habitat, geography, diet, level of endangerment, health, social structure, and species. Dolphins are able to live for an average of 20 years, and female dolphins tend live longer than males. Dolphins that live in captivity tend to have shorter lifespans than those in the wild.

Where do dolphins live?


Dolphins are able to live in all of the world’s oceans and in some rivers. Not all species of dolphins are able to live in every environment, except for the bottlenose dolphin who is able to live in almost every ocean except for the Arctic and Antarctic ocean. Most dolphins prefer tropical and temperate waters since they are warm-blooded mammals.

Dolphins

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Orca Whale | Killer Whale
Dimensioned size comparison drawing of an Orca Whale (Killer Whale) compared to the size of a person

Orca Whales, also known as Killer Whales, are a part of the dolphin family and is the largest in the family. They have a distinguishably black-white two-toned look and can be found up to 6 tons (5,500 kg) and 32 feet (9.7 meters) long. Orcas are carnivores and prey on fish and small seals and other species of dolphins. The name “killer whale” comes from the fact that they can take down large animals. Orcas are apex predators which means no other animal preys on the killer whale.

The typical Orca Whale, or Killer Whale, has an overall height of 5’3”-7’6” (1.60-2.29 m) and body length of 23’-32’ (7.01-9.75 m). An average Orca Whale weighs between 1.5-6 tons (1.3-5.4 metric tons) and has a typical lifespan of 30-50 years (wild); 60-70 years (captivity).

Collection of illustrations of the Orca Whale (Killer Whale) seen from various elevations
Orca Whales, also known as Killer Whales, are a part of the dolphin family and is the largest in the family. The name “killer whale” comes from the fact that they can take down large animals. Orcas are apex predators which means no other animal preys on the killer whale.

The typical Orca Whale, or Killer Whale, has an overall height of 5’3”-7’6” (1.60-2.29 m) and body length of 23’-32’ (7.01-9.75 m). An average Orca Whale weighs between 1.5-6 tons (1.3-5.4 metric tons) and has a typical lifespan of 30-50 years (wild); 60-70 years (captivity).

Collection of illustrations of the Orca Whale (Killer Whale) seen from various elevations
Orca Whale | Killer Whale
Height:
5’3”-7’6” | 1.60-2.29 m
Width:
Length:
23’-32’ | 7.01-9.75 m
Depth:
Weight:
1.5-6 tons | 1.3-5.4 metric tons
Area:
Scientific Name
Orcinus orca
Lifespan
30-50 years (wild); 60-70 years (captivity)

Drawings include:
Orca Whale (Killer Whale) side elevation, front, top, breaching

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Common Bottlenose Dolphin
Dimensioned side elevation drawing of a Common Bottlenose Dolphin measured for length with a scuba diver for scale

Common Bottlenose Dolphins are long-beaked dolphins and are also one of the most well-known water mammals on the planet. Their popular exposure in marine parks and high-trafficked beaches have contributed to their global presence. Bottlenose Dolphins can swim at an average of 15 mph (24km/h) and dive for 20 minutes but commonly hit the surface every 3 minutes. Common bottlenose dolphins hunt eels, squid, and fish and they swallow their food whole. Keeping a healthy diet, these dolphins can live up to 50 years.

The typical Bottlenose Dolphin has an overall height of 2’1”-2’11” (64-89 cm) and body length of 10’-14’ (310-430 cm). An average Bottlenose Dolphin weighs between 300-1,400 lb (136-625 kg) and has a typical lifespan of 20-30 years.

Collection of illustrations of the Common Bottlenose Dolphin drawn from the top, front and jumping positions
Common Bottlenose Dolphins are a species of long-beaked dolphins and one of the most well-known water mammals on the planet. At around around 1000 pounds and 13 feet (4 m) in length, Bottlenose Dolphins can swim at an average of 15 mph (24km/h) and dive for 20 minutes.

The typical Bottlenose Dolphin has an overall height of 2’1”-2’11” (64-89 cm) and body length of 10’-14’ (310-430 cm). An average Bottlenose Dolphin weighs between 300-1,400 lb (136-625 kg) and has a typical lifespan of 20-30 years.

Collection of illustrations of the Common Bottlenose Dolphin drawn from the top, front and jumping positions
Common Bottlenose Dolphin
Height:
2’1”-2’11” | 64-89 cm
Width:
Length:
10’-14’ | 3.1-4.3 m
Depth:
Weight:
300-1,400 lb | 136-625 kg
Area:
Scientific Name
Tursiops truncatus
Lifespan
20-30 years

Drawings include:
Common Bottlenose Dolphin side elevation, front, top, jumping

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