Day 8: Today is World Oceans Day, so in honour of this campaign, today’s Close up Monday will be of bottle-nosed dolphins. I’ll admit that marine wildlife is one aspect of my knowledge that isn’t particularly strong. So I am going to use today as a platform to further my understanding around this subject.
What’s your favourite ocean inhabitant?
The bottle-nosed dolphin is probably the best known of all UK whale and dolphin species (cetaceans). While reading the summer edition of the RSPB’s Nature’s Home magazine, I was surprised to discover that up to 28 of these aquatic mammals have been seen around UK shores.
Some facts on bottle-nosed dolphins:
- UK bottle-nosed dolphins are the biggest in the world, their larger bodies help with the cold of our waters
- They can live up to 50 years of age
- Are carnivore and eat other fish and crustaceans
- They have good eyesight and their eyes can move independently of each other
- They can’t detect colour
- Highly sociable and live within pods of up to 15 members
- Research has shown that dolphins have names or a unique whistle to identify them from other dolphins
- Like bats they use echolocation for finding food and navigation
- Their stomachs consist of three chambers, one to store, one to digest and one to excrete
- They sleep by shutting one side of their brain and the opposing eye
- ‘Breaching’ or jumping out of water is a way of cleaning parasites off their bodies
- As a mammal they are warm blooded and need to breathe through a blow hole
Bottle-nosed dolphins enjoy the safety of sheltered bays and can be seen often at RSPB Bempton Cliffs, Moray Firth in Scotland, Cornwall and Dorset.
Have you seen any bottle-nosed dolphins around the coast of the UK? Have you seen any other cetaceans?
Thanks for reading, and stay wild!