Dolphins are highly intelligent and social mammals.They love to play and will frequently swim so close to humans that you could almost touch. But please don't! It is against the law to feed or touch wildlife in Florida. It's not safe for you and it's bad for them.

Dolphins live all over the world. The species we see here on the Gulf Coast is the Bottlenose dolphin. Flipper, a celebrity bottlenose, made the species famous. They typically swim at 3 to 7 miles per hour but they can zoom along at 20 miles per hour whenever they think that’s a good idea. A dolphin's body is shaped like a tube that is pointed at both ends. This streamlining helps the water flow over the dolphin's body as it swims.

By dolphin standards they are shallow divers, maybe 150 feet or so, but around here they are cruising in about 10-50 feet. Even though dolphins are warm-blooded, and their internal temperature is about 98 degrees, they need to conserve their body heat in colder water. Flipper and his friends are good hunters and eat a variety of fish and squid. First they catch fish and keep them in their mouths with interlocking teeth and then, GULP, they swallow their food whole.

Bats use echolocation in the air and dolphins use it in the water. To echolocate, the dolphin generates a sound pulse (of clicks) in its forehead which is sent into the water. The sound bounces off objects, creating an echo that returns to the dolphins. We think that dolphins hear the returning echoes by feeling the sound pulses against their jaws. Different objects (like different kinds of fish) give off different kinds of echoes. Dolphins can also judge how far away the object is by the amount of time it takes for the echo to return.

Look for dolphins when you go fishing, kayaking or swimming in the Gulf or Bays. They are fast, fun and friendly and they are one of the many special treats our natural environment has to share.


Check It Out!

Dolphin Dive Center
6018 S. Tamiami Trl.
Sarasota Florida
Phone: 941-924-2785

Economy Tackle
6018 S. Tamiami Trl.
Sarasota Florida
Phone: 941-922-9671

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