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THE BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN

 

The Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) is a species of cetaceans that can be spotted in our Marine Life Watching Tours.

This specie has a big range of sizes, shapes, and colors depending on its habitat. It can weigh from 150 to 600 kg and it can measure from 2 to 4 meters length. Its longevity is about 30 to 40 years.

The Bottlenose Dolphin has a well defined nose and pointy fins. Its back is dark gray, fading to white on its lower jaw and belly. Females are smaller than the males and the juveniles show a lighter bluish coloration.

This specie of dolphins inhabits coastal waters, although it can be seen frequently in estuaries, in temperate or tropical waters of Atlantic, Pacific and Indic Ocean. In Portugal can be seen along the entire mainland coast and also in the Archipelagos of Azores and Madeira.

This efficient predator takes advantage of echolocation to determine the position of the preys which include fish, cephalopods and crustaceans. Although they have complicated hunting strategies, due to this technique the Bottlenose Dolphin is able to identify a prey miles away.

This specie reproduction is mainly from April to September, but it can be seen breeding all year around. Each female has only one calf in each 2 to 3 years. When the females give birth they are helped by other females, protecting each other and the calf from potential shark attacks since these may be attracted by the blood. These females also cooperate to help the calf to come out pulling it from the tail and pushing it to the surface in order to breathe.

Bottlenose dolphins usually live in groups consisting of females and younglings, while males form alliances, and can be found with other dolphin species. This is an animal that shows some curiosity when it encounters humans and can be found sometimes playing with boats in our Dolphin Watching Boat tours, side by side with common dolphins swimming at the bow of the boat.

 

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