The Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops Truncatus) is an incredibly intelligent and playful animal of which we are very lucky to have them down here in the South West. There are multiple pods along the sheltered coastline where we travel on our safaris. Scientists actually suggest that dolphins are capable of highly developed communication which closely resembles humans which is unsurprising due to the fact that their brains are ever so slightly bigger but have great interaction with humans.
How to identify this species
• 2.5 - 3.5m in length.
• Mostly dark grey with a light grey or white belly.
• Inhabits shallow waters.
A pod of bottlenose will sometimes coordinate their feeding and work together to capture fish, but also hunt individually. They sometimes fish around human fishing activity to capture any escapees from the net. Like all dolphin species, bottlenose use echolocation to search for prey. It is a bit like sonar, where they send out a series of clicks and interpret the echo that comes back to them. They can determine how far away prey is located and how big it might be, for example how large the school of fish is.
Threats and Conservation
This species is not currently considered endangered, due to its abundance and adaptability. However they frequently come into contact with human fishing activities as one of their favourite foods is tuna. This does lead to a high incidence of by-catch as the majority of tuna fisheries use purse seiners, which encircle the tuna and anything else that is in the vicinity. This has lead to the 'dolphin safe' label on tuna products that do not endanger dolphins.
*All photos are taken by Orca Sea Safaris and/or their customers.