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Bottlenose Dolphin

Bottlenose Dolphin

Animal's Behavior

Bottlenose Dolphins typically swim in groups of 2 to 15 individuals. A number of these group members can establish a strong social bond. Social behavior comprises a major part of their daily activities. Dolphins can jump as high as 16 feet from the water and landing on their backs, bellies or sides in a behavior called a breach.

Eating Habits

Bottlenose Dolphins are active predators and eat a wide variety of small fish, squid and crustaceans. The feeding behavior of these dolphin is flexible and depends upon their habitat and available food resources. The dolphin's cone-like teeth grasp but do not chew food.


Bottlenose Dolphins live in temperate and tropical waters worldwide. They can be found in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans as well as in the Mediterranean and Black Seas. Some dolphins in northern latitudes have a tendency to seasonal migrations traveling farther south for the winter. Coastal dolphins in warmer waters show less migratory habits.

Conservation Efforts

Bottlenose Dolphins are not endangered yet some populations are "threatened" due to environmental changes. All marine mammals in and around U.S. waters are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 (MMPA). According to the MMPA, it is illegal to harm, harass, touch, feed, restrain and even to approach marine mammals in the wild. This is for their protection as well as ours.

Animal Facts

  • Bottlenose Dolphins hear tones with a frequency up to 160 kHz with the greatest sensitivity ranging from 40 to 100 kHz. The average hearing range for humans is about 0.02 to 20 kHz.
  • The popular television show "Flipper" depicted a bottlenose dolphin in a friendly relationship with two boys.

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Quick Facts

Scientific Name

Tursiops truncatus


Animalia, Chordata, Mammalia, Cetacea, Delphinidae, Tursiops


Range between 6.6 and 13 feet and weigh between 330 and 1,400 pounds


Gray, varying from dark gray at top dorsal fin to light gray/white on the underside


Average of 20 years

Conservation Status

Near Threatened

Where to See

In the Wild

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