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Amazon River Dolphin Lesson for Kids: Habitat & Facts

Instructor: Catherine Maher

Catherine has taught 4th through 7th grade and has a master's degree in reading education.

In this lesson, you will learn about the Amazon River dolphin. It is a fresh water animal that is quite different from the dolphins that live in the ocean.

Fresh Water Dolphin

Did you know that not all dolphins live in the ocean? A few species live in fresh, or non-salty, water. The largest of these is the Amazon River dolphin. The most surprising thing about these animals may be their color. Some of them are a vivid pink!

Amazon River dolphin.
Picture of Amazon River dolphin

Habitat

The Amazon River dolphin is also known as the boto, bouto, bufeo, and pink river dolphin. It lives in the Amazon and Orinoco Rivers in South America. It eats water animals like catfish, piranhas, shellfish, and turtles.

The Amazon River dolphin lives in the Amazon and Orinoco Rivers in the northern part of South America.
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Description

Size

The Amazon River dolphin is a mammal, so its babies are born live, not hatched from eggs. At birth, they weigh about 15 pounds and measure 32 inches long. That's about twice as heavy and tall as a human baby. Adults average about 6 feet long though they can be 8-9 feet, with males growing the biggest. An average adult river dolphin weighs about 350 pounds.

Beak

Amazon River dolphins have a long slender beak (the front part of their head--where their mouth is) that curves at the end. They have some stiff hairs on the top and bottom of their beaks. Scientists think these give them a sense of touch when they are poking around in a muddy river bottom, trying to find food. They are the only type of dolphin to have two types of teeth: one type is at the front of their beak for grabbing prey and another type is at the back for grinding as they chew.

You can see the two types of teeth in the open beak of this dolphin.
Picture of the open beak of the dolphin.

Breathing, Seeing and Hearing

Behind their beak, these dolphins have a round part of their head, called a melon. At the top of their head is a blowhole for breathing. Amazon River dolphins have small eyes above chubby cheeks. Some scientists think the cheeks make it hard for them to see what is below them. This may be the reason they often swim upside down. Amazon River dolphins have large ear openings and hear well.

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