Dolphins are marine mammals known for their intelligence. They are found all over the world in almost all aquatic environments, including around the coast of New Zealand.
Here are 10 facts about dolphins that you might not have known before.
1. Many different types
There are around 40 different species of marine dolphins found. They can be found in oceans, coastal and estuarine environments, and freshwater. Dolphins can adapt to a wide range of temperatures, from icy Antarctic waters to warm tropical seas.
2. Some are only found here
New Zealand has 2 endemic species - Māui and Hector's dolphins. With grey, white, and black markings and a distinct snout without a beak, their flat, black dorsal fin resembling a Mickey Mouse’s ears, sets them apart from other dolphins that have a pointed dorsal fin.
3. Freshwater dolphins
The Amazon River is home to 4 species of dolphins that have adapted to life in freshwater and are found nowhere else on Earth. Some of them are pink.
4. Fast Swimmers
Dolphins are known for their impressive swimming abilities, and bottlenose dolphins can reach speeds of over 40km/hour for brief periods, although they usually travel at about 3km/hour.
5. Clever Hunters
Dolphins are skilled hunters and have some interesting hunting techniques. Some use bubbles to herd their prey to the surface and stun fish with their tail in a technique called "fish-whacking."