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Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)
Dolphins are mammals, not fish.
Dolphins have smooth skin that feels like a wet inner tube.
The bottlenose dolphin can hold its breath up to seven minutes but will typically breathe two or three times per minute.
Bottlenose dolphins rest and sleep for short periods, only two to five minutes at a time. Scientists believe they rest half of their brain at a time. Therefore, you may see them resting with one eye open and one closed.
Dolphins don’t do tricks. Their jumps, spins, flips and tail walks are part of their natural behaviors. It is how they play, exercise and communicate.
Bottlenose dolphins can swim for short spurts at speeds up to 22 miles per hour.
Scientists are currently studying dolphins in the wild and in human care to better understand the life span of the mammals. Current scientific data shows that dolphins in the care of facilities accredited by Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums live longer than their counterparts in the wild. On average, a one-year old dolphin can be expected to live for more than 25 years, according to a data review by members of North American Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums.
Bottlenose dolphins inhabit temperate and tropical oceans throughout the world, avoiding only the Polar Regions. In the United States, bottlenose dolphins can be found along the East Coast from Cape Cod to the Gulf of Mexico.
The actual size of an adult bottlenose dolphin varies from 6 ½ to 12 feet in length depending upon sex and geographic location. They can reach up to 650 pounds. Males are slightly larger than females.
Dolphins are born with whiskers that fall out shortly after birth, leaving tiny hair follicles.
The Bottlenose Dolphins at The Mirage
The Mirage cares for several bottlenose dolphins.
Each bottlenose dolphin at The Mirage eats between 15 and 25 pounds of fish and squid throughout the day.
The Mirage has a successful breeding program.
Pregnancy and Birth
A pregnancy lasts between 11 and 12 months.
The bottlenose dolphin typically gives birth to one calf at a time and can give birth every two to three years.
Calves are often born tail first. They weigh between 25 and 30 pounds at birth and are about two to three feet in length. A calf nurses from its mother for approximately 18 months to two years.
Female bottlenose dolphin’s take turns caring for the young, helping them swim to the surface to take a breath, protecting them from predators and teaching them how to hunt and eat.
Echolocation is the ability to locate objects by emitting sound waves and interpreting the resulting echo. This system of sonar allows a dolphin to “see” without using its eyes. Dolphins use echolocation to navigate and find food.
Dolphins can use their echolocation on objects two inches (five cm) or smaller, up to 650 feet (200 meters) away.
Dolphins use echolocation to:
○ Determine distance
○ Determine size
○ Determine shape
○ Determine speed
○ Determine direction
○ Distinguish between different types of materials
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Rebecca Ingram Frisch
MGM Resorts International Public Relations