Dolphins Essay

1618 words - 6 pages

Dolphins are mammals closely related to whalesand porpoises. Dolphins have a powerful and streamlinedbody. They are found in all seas and oceans. Dolphins can betold apart from porpoises by their nose, which is beaklike, andalso their conical teeth. Porpoises have a flatter nose, sharperteeth, and a more solid body.There are 32 known species of dolphins. The bottle-nosed dolphin is often the species used in aquatic shows. Thecommon dolphin inspired many Mediterranean folk lores. Bothof the dolphins above appear in open waters, usually aroundcruise ships. They like to show off around the boat.There are also freshwater dolphins that live in riversof Asia and South America. The Buffeo dolphin has beenspotted up to 1250 miles up he Amazon River. The buffeo is thesmallest of all dolphins averaging about 4 feet. The bottlenoseis closer to 10 feet. The killer whale, which is also considered adolphin, can grow to be 30 feet long. The pilot whale is alsoconsidered a dolphin.Dolphins were once hunted by commercial boatsfor the small amount of oil that can be extracted from theirbody. This oil is used to lubricate small parts in watches.Cheaper oils have been found, so dolphins are not hunted forthis reason anymore. Dolphins can be caught in tuna nets byaccident. Since dolphins have to breath at the surface theydrown in tuna nets. It is estimated that 4.8 million dolphins werekilled in tuna nets from 1959 to 1972. Under pressure fromanimal rights activists tuna consumers will not accept tuna fromcanners that do not protect dolphins. Animal rights activistsalso believe that dolphins shouldn't be in captivity for use inaquatic shows.Dolphins eat a lot of food in a day, usually aboutone third of their body weight. A dolphin's diet consists ofmostly fish and squid. Dolphins can swim very fast, so they areable to easily catch their food. The dolphin has 200 to 250sharp teeth. Dolphins follow schools of fish in groups. ThePacific white-sided species is estimated to travel in groups withtens of thousands of members, while on the other handbottlenose dolphins travel in groups that contain only a fewmembers.Dolphin, like whales, breathe through a blowhole inthe top of their head. While traveling dolphins break the surfaceonce every two minutes. When dolphins exhale water issometimes thrown from the blowhole. After exhaling thedolphins inhale and disappear into the ocean. A dolphins lungsare adapted to resist the physical problems that are caused byquick changes in pressure. With this adaptation dolphins candive up to 1000 feet with no problem.A dolphins tail is, like all other aquatic mammals,moves in an up and down motion. Dolphins double fluke theirtale to move forward. Their flippers are used to stabilize thedolphin as they swim.A dolphin is very streamlined and can average aspeed of up to 19 miles per hour with bursts of over 25 milesper hour. At these speeds, dolphins can cover great distancesin a day.The best studied species of dolphins are the bottle-nosed....

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