Dolphins make up a largely diverse group of aquatic mammals with over 40 different species of dolphins. Dolphins are also the only marine animal to inhabit all four major oceans. Dolphins vary in shape and size ranging anywhere from 5 ft long and 110 lbs to 31 feet long and 11 tons.
The most common dolphin to inhabit the waters surrounding the United States is the Bottlenose Dolphin. They live in groups or typically of 10-30 called pods. Within these pods, bottlenose dolphins hunt, breed, and migrate. Dolphins are carnivorous mammals that eat small fish, squid and crustaceans. Dolphins work with other members of their pod as a team to herd schools of fish towards the shore to maximize their harvest.
There are many different threats to dolphins that could dangerously impact the worlds dolphin population. These threats include:
- Ship strikes
- Habitat loss
- Oil spills
- entanglement in fishing lines/nets
The Clearwater Marine Aquarium works to help injured and stranded marine animals of all kind. Specifically this rehabilitation center is home to the real life story of Winter the dolphin who was rescued by the staff at Clearwater Aquarium.