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Facts About Dolphins for Kids

Instructor: Tiffany Donald

Tiffany has taught Special Education and First Year Experience on the collegiate level. She holds a master's degree in education and in religion.

Dolphins are beautiful creatures, and people of all ages love them. This lesson will teach you some interesting facts about this animal, like where they live and what they eat.

What is a Dolphin?

There are lots of animals that live in the water, but did you know that dolphins are considered one of the smartest? Let's learn about them now.

Dolphins are known as aquatic mammals. Aquatic mammals are warm-blooded animals that live partly or entirely in water. Since dolphins live in the ocean, they are also considered marine mammals. Their body temperature stays about 36 to 37 degrees Celsius, or 96.8 to 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, just like humans. In order to keep this temperature and prevent them from being cold, dolphins' bodies are surrounded by a thick layer of fat called blubber.

Just like other mammals, mother dolphins nurse their babies with milk. Speaking of milk, a female dolphin is actually called a cow, a male dolphin is called a bull, and a baby dolphin is called a calf. Pretty neat!

Dolphins can be found in different colors, but most of them are gray with a white belly and a darker-colored back. You will also find them being black and white, or on a rare occasion, you may see a pink dolphin like the ones that live in the Amazon River.

A Pink Dolphin in the Amazon River
pink dolphin in Amazon River

Types of Dolphins

There are about 43 different types of dolphins. Most of those are marine dolphins that live in saltwater. The other types are known as river dolphins, and they live in freshwater rivers instead of the ocean.

The most common dolphin is the bottlenose dolphin. This is the same type of dolphin that was in the movie Dolphin Tale and an old television show called Flipper. You should ask your parents about this one!

A Bottlenose Dolphin

Another popular type of dolphin is called an orca, or killer whale. Orcas are the largest type of dolphin. The most famous killer whale was named Shamu. You may be familiar with this name if you have ever visited the theme park SeaWorld.

The killer whale is a type of dolphin called an orca.
orca, killer whale

What do Dolphins Eat?

Dolphins are carnivores, which means that they only eat meat. They mainly eat all kinds of fish, but they also eat squid and crustaceans, which are shelled animals like shrimp, crab, and lobster. Dolphins can eat up to 50 pounds of food every day. That's a lot of fish!

Sometimes dolphins work as a team called a pod to help get schools of fish surrounded. The dolphins take turns plowing through the schools of fish to make sure that everyone in the pod gets a chance to eat. That is great teamwork!

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