Swimming with the Fishes
What animal did the Greeks treasure to such an extreme that killing this animal would be equal to murder (Greenberg 9-10)? This animal is eight feet to ten feet long and can way as much as 600 pounds. This animal can be easily mistaken for a fish but actually is a mammal (Bottlenose Dolphin). This animal can swim twenty miles per hour and hold its breath up to ten minutes (“Bottlenose Dolphin”; The New Book of Knowledge). This animal is the Bottlenose Dolphin. The Bottlenose Dolphin lives in tropical seas but cannot live in polar seas (Bottlenose Dolphin). The Bottlenose Dolphin has a mother that takes care of the young the father does not care for the young. The Bottlenose Dolphin has a body to help it swim sleekly and swiftly (Bottlenose Dolphin). The Bottlenose Dolphin habitat consists of tropical waters, and the mother has to take care of the calf, also the Bottlenose Dolphin is lucky to have many defense tactics (Prevost 8; Bottlenose-dolphin; Bottlenose Dolphin).
The Bottlenose Dolphin lives only in tropical waters. This is because the Bottlenose Dolphin does not have much fat or blubber to insulate itself and it does not exactly have fur to keep itself warm (Prevost 8; Bottlenose Dolphin). There are many tropical waters so the Bottlenose Dolphin has a huge range of living space (Hirschi 22). The Bottlenose Dolphin is a social animal so they form pods. In their pods they take care of each other and find food (Greenberg 87). When finding food the pod can choose to either go up to the surface and hunt or they can go to the dark depths of the ocean and bottom feed (Hirschi 30). As Hirschi states, “Dolphins eat only fish but they can also eat squid, crab, shrimp and other small seafood” (28 and 29). This is what makes up the Bottlenose Dolphins habitat. This includes tropical waters, pods, and food.
The Bottlenose Dolphin’s life cycle starts out when a dolphin uses their taste sense to find a mate (Hirschi 16). After mating the male then leaves the female, by doing so the female forms a pod with other females to help take care of the expecting calf (Prevost 8). After 12 months of development the calf is born tail first so that it doesn’t drown (Hirschi 35; Bottlenose dolphin). The mother then nurses the calf for eight months. This could be the reason why female dolphins only give birth every two to three years (Bottlenose-dolphin). During those eight months of nursing the females in the pod will act like nannies by taking care of the calf when the mother is tired or is looking for food. They also help keeping the calf safe from predators. When the calf grows a little it will form a pod with other calves and learn the rules of society (Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin). This life cycle is eminent in reproduction. Some important steps are mating, raising, growing up and starting over again. Without this cycle the Bottlenose Dolphin would cease to exist.
The Bottlenose Dolphin has many ways of defense. They need to be defensive against sharks, toothed whales and humans (Prevost 12). A dolphin can protect itself by using their signature whistles and making clicks to sense where their predator is (McCarthy 277). This is done by using echolocation. When using echolocation the dolphin makes a sound and listens back at the echo. The sound will hit the predator and it will bounce back and the dolphin can hear it and sense where the predator is. Another way of defense is using their pods and gang up on the predator (Prevost 12). To protect itself from the threat a Bottlenose Dolphin can use its camouflage. This is done when the threat is looking up at the dolphins light belly and thinking that it is the sky. This is also done if the threat is looking down on the Bottlenose Dolphin’s dark back and thinking that it is the dark depths of the ocean. A final way a Bottlenose dolphin can protect itself is by swimming away. The Bottlenose Dolphin’s body is perfect for speed swimming. The Bottlenose Dolphin’s sleek body can resist water resistance so that the water resistance does not slow it down. The Bottlenose Dolphin has a flat tail so that it can swim faster through the water. It also has side fins to steer. And finally a Bottlenose Dolphin has a dorsal fin, known as the top fin, to keep stable (Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin).
The adaptations of speed swimming, camouflage, and echolocation really help the Bottlenose Dolphin in avoiding predators.
The Bottlenose Dolphin will not survive in polar waters, so they must live in tropical waters where it is nice and warm (Prevost 8). The male or father should not take care of the calf because the father would kill his own calf (Prevost 16). Dolphin’s greatest threats are tuna fishing nets. These nets kill many dolphins each year. The Bottlenose Dolphin lives in seas that are tropical, and the mother takes care of the calf, and when a dolphin meets a predator it will use one of its many defense tactics. A Bottlenose Dolphin can live in reefs, mangrove shores, and sea grass as long as it is in tropical waters. The mother plays a very important role to the young calf without the mother the calf would die. A dolphin does not have many predators and no human likes dolphin meat. A dolphin has a large range of living space for now it is safe in its environment but if we keep on polluting the ocean it may not be safe at all. With careless tuna fishing, female dolphins will disappear and then no one will be there to raise the child.
Works cited from
“Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin.”23 April 2008 .
Prevost, F. John Bottlenose Dolphins Edina, Minnesota: Abdo & Daughters, 1995.
“Bottlenose-dolphin.” 23 April 2008, <.http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/Animals/Creature Feature/Bottlenose-dolphin.html>.
Greenberg, Dan Dolphins Tarrytown, New York: Benchmark Books Marshall Cavendish, 2004.
Hirschi, Ron Dolphins Tarrytown, New York: Benchmark Books Marshall Cavendish, 1992.
McCarthy, Virginia Quinn. The New Book of Knowledge. Vol. 4.
Danbury, CT: Scholastic Library Publishing, Inc., 2007. 21 vols.