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Bottlenose Dolphin

Scientific name:  Tursiops truncatus truncatus
Class:  Mammals
Continent:  Central America and the Caribbean
Habitat:  Oceans and seas
Diet:  Piscivorous
Weight:  150 - 200 kg
Size:  Up to 4 m
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Meet the Bottlenose Dolphin!

The bottlenose dolphin is a species of mammal belonging to the order of cetaceans, specifically to the group of odontocetes (cetaceans with teeth). Its ancestors evolved from a terrestrial mammal to an animal fully adapted to aquatic life. They are found in all seas and oceans of the world.

Among their main characteristics is their soft and smooth skin, as well as the absence of hair. Although they are marine animals, they need to come to the surface to breathe, since they have lungs like us. They breathe through the spiracle, an orifice located at the top of their head. Through the spiracle they also make sounds that are used for communication or for their echo-location system

To improve their perception of the environment where they live, they have developed the echo-location system, a kind of biological sonar similar to that of certain boats that allows them to monitor their environment in total darkness. Dolphins emit sounds through a specialized organ called a melon. When the sound hits an object, it bounces back and allows the dolphin to get a ‘picture’ of its surroundings.

What are its habits?

Dolphins are social animals, they usually travel in pods that vary in number depending on the species. The bottlenose dolphin, for example, creates pods ranging from 10 to 25 individuals (depending on whether they travel along the coast or on the high seas). They communicate with each other through a large number of sounds, and are even known to have ‘names’ (signature sounds). Body movements and jumps are also used for communication.

As for reproduction, gestation lasts approximately one year; they give birth to their young and usually have only one offspring per birth. The lactation period can extend up to two years.

Dolphins are Piscivorous, meaning they feed on shrimp, crabs, squid, octopus and a variety of fish. They have between 84 and 100 teeth, which they use to capture their prey, but they do not chew what they eat, they swallow it whole.

Extinct in the wild
Critically endangered
Near threatened
Least concern
Insufficient data
Not evaluated


Dolphins do not sleep, they have a unihemispheric sleep. This means that they are conscious all the time, sleeping first one side of the brain and then the other.

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Learn more about some of the Zoo's animals in a unique adventure

Learn more about some of the Zoo's animals in a unique adventure