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March is a Dolphin Awareness Month and Springbok Casino joins worldwide efforts to support these beautiful, highly intelligent marine mammals. Keep on reading to learn a few interesting and fun facts about this graceful, friendly and playful member of the toothed whales family.
If you've ever watched a dolphin eat, you've noticed that they seem to gulp down their food. That's because dolphins can't chew. Instead, their teeth are used to grip prey. Sometimes, they'll shake it or rub it on the ocean floor to tear it into more manageable pieces. One theory for why they've evolved to do away with chewing is because they need to quickly consume fish before it can swim away. Skipping the process of chewing ensures their meal doesn't escape.
There are more than a few recordings documenting the altruistic behaviour demonstrated by dolphins towards other animals. There's no need to ask for help; all it takes is for them to notice another living being is in trouble and dolphins will rush over to help. Check it out in this heartwarming video showing them coming to rescue when a young seal struggles to swim to safety.
Dolphins use the toxin of puffer fishes to get high. Normally the toxin can be deadly but dolphins can work out to make the fish release just the right amount to get high. Dolphins carefully chew on the puffer and even pass it around and hang around.
You may have already seen some tricks these skilful athletes are capable of, jumping in and out of the sea as they sail next to your boat. But spinner dolphins can perform more even more astounding acts, such as doing spinning jumps. It may seem like a game, but there are a few theories as to why they do it; some say it's one of the ways to express emotions, while others claim it helps these beautiful animals get rid of parasites. Whichever the case, one can't deny it's a truly amazing sight.
The blowhole of a dolphin is actually an adapted nose which has moved to the top of its head. Dolphins must tell themselves when to breathe; it's not an automatic response like it is for humans.
Dolphins are mammals and breathe air into their lungs, just like we do. Dolphins cannot breathe under water like fish can as they do not have gills. Dolphins breathe through a nostril, called a blowhole, located right on top of their heads. This allows them to take breaths by exposing just the top of their heads to the air while they are swimming or resting under the water. After each breath, the blowhole is sealed tightly by strong muscles that surround it, so that water cannot get into the dolphin’s lungs.
Dolphins and cats as playmates? Hard to imagine, right? At least until you see this video of a kitty which is not only happy to sail on a boat, but also ready to engage in a playful activity with an unlikely mate. Not looking that interested to start with, it doesn't take long for the friendly dolphin to win kitty's heart and get it to purr.
When on a boat, you might see dolphins riding the waves next to you, as if to keep you company. Scientists claim that by swimming alongside ships, they are actually trying to conserve energy. But could it be it’s actually because they like our company as much as we love theirs? This video showing a pod of dolphins joining a surfer kind of indicates the latter.
Dolphins can jump as high as 25 feet out of the water and there is a number of explanations as to why they do it. It’s believed that jumping and spinning is used as a means of communication but is also a way they play. Some say dolphin will jump to show off, and others that it’s a way to get a better view of the surrounding area.
Gestation period in dolphins lasts 12 months, and normally the moms will deliver one young every 2 to 4 years. Did you know that dolphin is the only mammal giving birth with the tail first, instead of the head? Have a look at this heartwarming video showing a baby girl seeing the light of day for the very first time.
Did you know that killer whale or Orca belongs to oceanic dolphin family? And that it didn’t get its name because it’s a whale that kills, but because it kills whales?
We all know dolphins are extraordinarily intelligent animals, but were you aware they were also highly evolved culturally? Researches have observed them teaching their young how to use tools, such as sponges used to protect their snouts from getting stung by stonefish and other creatures hiding on the sea floor. It is believed that this cultural behavior is being passed on along family lines, from mother to daughter.
Dolphins are playful animals which enjoy socializing, and will look even outside of their species to find a playmate and engage in one or another type of fun activity. Numerous videos have documented interactions between these friendly creatures and whales, humans and even dogs.
Dolphins in a group, known as a pod, create very strong bonds. When one of the pod member gets into a difficulty or ends up injured, the others will do what they can to help and look after them with great care. This heartbreaking footage shows a group of dolphins swimming close together, in an effort to carry the injured female on their backs and keep her head above water to save her from drowning.
Ready to help other fellow animals when in need, dolphins don’t shy asking for help when in trouble themselves. Check out this footage of a dolphin which got tangled in fishing line, and subsequently approaching a group of divers for help.
Dolphins have to come to the surface regularly in order to get oxygen, which is why we often get to enjoy the sight of these wonderful mammals. But how come they don’t drown when they are asleep? First of all, dolphins don’t sleep for hours in one go like we do; instead they take short 15 to 20 minute naps. Secondly, only half of the their brain goes to sleep each time, so that the other half can remain conscious and keep them breathing.
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