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Dolphin Diet: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Diane Sieverson

Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.

Different kinds of dolphins eat different foods. This lesson will teach you about some different dolphins, where they live, what they eat, and some other cool facts about how they eat.

Dolphin Diets

Imagine traveling all over the Unites States with your family. Depending on where you are, you get to try different foods that are common to that part of the country. You might have lobster in Maine, grits in Georgia, deep dish pizza in Illinois, and avocados in California. People in different parts of the country have different tastes and like different kinds of foods.

Just like people, different kinds of dolphins live in different places and eat different kinds of food, too. What they eat depends on what is available in their habitats, or places in the wild where they live.

But you won't catch a dolphin eating plants like those avocados you tried in California. Dolphins are carnivores, which means they eat meat. With over 40 different kinds of dolphins that live in fresh and saltwater environments all over the world, they have different ideas about what makes a tasty snack!

Terrifying Teeth

If you were a dolphin's dentist, you'd find as few as 8 teeth or as many as 250 teeth, depending on the kind of dolphin. Dolphin teeth look like spikes ready to grind dinner to tiny bits.

But unlike you, dolphins don't use their teeth to chew! Since they don't have hands and can't grab a passing snack, they use their teeth to catch and hold on to a meal. And though your mom probably tells you to chew your food well, once a dolphin catches dinner, they gulp it down whole.

Bottlenose Dolphins

When you think of dolphins, bottlenose dolphins are probably the dolphins you picture in your mind. They are found all over the world, both in shallow water by coastlines and in deeper ocean waters. Depending on where they live, they like to eat many different kinds of fish.

Bottlenose dolphins
Bottlenose dolphins

Bottlenose dolphins that live near Scotland like to eat salmon in the spring and summer. In the winter, when they can't find salmon, they eat other fish like mackerel and herring.

Other bottlenose dolphins living in warmer water might chase down some tropical fish, mullet, and even catfish.

Amazon River Dolphins

Amazon river dolphins only hang out in freshwater in the Amazon and Orinoco river basins in South America and are easy to spot because they're pink. They like fish but aren't picky about what kind they'll munch on.

Amazon river dolphin
Amazon river dolphin

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