National Dolphin Day

What else do you have going on tomorrow, April 14? Celebrate dolphins! One of my favorite things to do is to sit on the beach with my aunt and watch the dolphins. Better yet, when possible, we love to take a boat tour see them up close playing in the waves made by the boat. I’m usually watching bottlenose dolphins, but there are over three dozen different species; most live in the ocean, but there are also several species of river dolphins (including the Amazon River dolphins, called “botos,” that turn pink as they age!).

Dolphins are cetaceans (marine mammals) and are part of the group of toothed whales that includes belugas, porpoises, narwhals, and orcas. They are among Earth’s most social and intelligent mammals – they even have emotional similarities to humans.  In addition to their playful nature, dolphins utilize coordinated hunting strategies to corral fish like cowboys on a roundup. They also use echolocation to hunt. They communicate with each other with a wide variety of clicks, grunts, whistles, squeaks, and whines.

Pro tip: Need help telling dolphins and porpoises apart? The easiest way to tell them apart is to look at their faces; dolphins have a long, pointed snout, while a porpoise’s face is rounded.