Essay on Characteristics of Dolphins

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Characteristics of Dolphins

The majority of small tooth whales are called dolphins. “Dolphins are mammals of the order Cetacean and the families Plantanistidae and Delphinidae and include about 50 species” (Internet 1). Most dolphin species are about 6 feet in length, the males averaging 4 to 8 inches longer than females. The longest dolphin, the bottle-nose dolphin, can reach over nine-feet in length and weight up to 440 pounds. The smallest dolphin species is the buffalo which is found in the Amazon River. The Buffalo dolphin rarely grows over 3.9 feet or weighs more than 66 pounds. A dolphin’s diet consists mainly of herring, mackerel, and sardines. “Some species however, prefer squid, shrimp and other
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A dolphin’s normal "cruising speed" is about 23 to 25 mph, and if they are bow riding, they have been known to get up to 30mph. Because dolphins are mammals (warm blooded) their internal temperature is between 97.9o to 99of. They normally come to the surface to breathe about every two minutes. Each breath consists of a short, almost explosive exhalation, followed by a slightly longer inhalation. Dolphins can hold their breath for up to several minutes and are capable of rapid and deep dives of more then 1,000 ft. Dolphins once were hunted commercially, for the small quantity of valuable oil extracted from parts of the head and used to lubricated delicate watch mechanisms. Since cheaper oils have now been found from other sources, dolphins are no longer hunted for this reason. Many dolphins, however, become accidentally trapped and drowned in tuna nets. “Between the years 1959 and 1972 an estimated 4.8 million dolphins died this way” (www.thedolphinplace.com/facts.html). Because of the pressure from animal rights activists and United States consumers, both domestic and international tuna canners have refused to accept shipments from fishing fleets that do not protect dolphins. “The Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, amended in 1988 and 1992, was passed to prevent

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