Dolphins

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“Splish! Splash!” The sound of bottlenose dolphins jumping and swimming around their tank excites a family at SeaWorld as they wait to experience their first encounter with the dolphins. Every year, bottlenose dolphins bring joy to hundreds of people in both captivity and the wild, but what do people truly know about them? Bottlenose dolphins are actually unique and interesting creatures. Bottlenose dolphins are one of thirty-two species of marine dolphins (World Book 297). Their scientific name is Tursiops Truncatus. Males are usually longer and heavier than females. Bottlenose dolphins can grow to be thirteen feet long and weigh up to 600 pounds (Bottlenose Dolphins). This makes bottlenose dolphins the largest of the beaked dolphins (Dolphin Research Center). Bottlenose dolphins have slick and rubbery skin with no sweat glands or hair. Their epidermis is ten to twenty times thicker than that of other mammals. It can be replaced every two hours, which is nine times faster than human skin. The peeling of their skin helps to reduce drag when they swim. The skin is dark gray on their backs, and fades to white or pink on their bellies. This coloring is called countershading. From above the dolphins blend in with the dark water below, and from underneath they blend in with the sunlight. Countershading helps dolphins hide from predators and prey (Bottlenose Dolphins). Bottlenose dolphins are piscivors, or fish-eaters. They have eighty-eight to one hundred small, sharp teeth for grasping slippery squid and fish (Parker and Burton) (Dolphin Research Center). When catching fish, dolphins usually herd a school of fish together and then dash through the school one at a time to feed. It has been observed where 200 bottlenose dolphins were in a single row, working together to find food. Dolphins can also use their tail flukes to toss a fish out of the water and then retrieve the shocked prey (Bottlenose Dolphins). If a dolphin catches a large fish, it will smack the fish...
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