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Bottlenose Dolphins. By Cody Gurney. Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops Truncatus) . Class : Mammalia Order: Cetacean Suborder: Odontoceti Family: Delphinidae Genus: Tursiops Species: Truncatus . Physical Description.

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bottlenose dolphins

Bottlenose Dolphins

By Cody Gurney

bottlenose dolphin tursiops truncatus
Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops Truncatus)
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Cetacean
  • Suborder: Odontoceti
  • Family: Delphinidae
  • Genus: Tursiops
  • Species: Truncatus
physical description
Physical Description
  • Bottlenose dolphins measured off Florida averaged 2.5 to 2.7 m (8.2-8.9 ft.) and weighed between 190 and 260 kg (419-573 lb.) (Read, et al., 1993).
physical description cont
Physical Description cont.
  • Differences in body size and skull dimensions may be related to habitat differences. The two northwestern Atlantic ecotypes exhibit a pronounced size variance (Herse and Duffield, 1990).
  • Large bottlenose dolphins in the Pacific may be 3.7 m (12 ft.) and weigh 454 kg (1,000 lb.). In the Mediterranean, bottlenose grows to 3.7 m (12 ft.) or more.
  • On average, full-grown males are slightly longer than females, and considerably heavier. As juveniles, however, females grow at a faster rate until about 10 years of age (Read, et al., 1993).
  • Bottlenose dolphins live in temperate and tropical waters worldwide. Distribution is generally limited to surface water temperatures of 10° to 32°C (50°-90° F).
  • In the Pacific Ocean, bottlenose dolphins are found from northern Japan to Australia and from Southern California to Chile. They are also found offshore in the eastern tropical Pacific as far west as the Hawaiian Islands. Off the California coast bottlenose dolphins have been observed as far north as Monterey, particularly during years of unusual warmth.
habitats cont
Habitats cont.
  • In the Atlantic Ocean, bottlenose dolphins are found from Nova Scotia to Patagonia and from Norway to the tip of South Africa. They are the most abundant dolphin species along the United States coast from Cape Cod through the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Bottlenose dolphins are also found in the Mediterranean and Black Seas.
  •     Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins are found in the Indian Ocean from Indonesia to Australia to South Africa, the Red Sea, and in the tropical and subtropical waters of the western Pacific.
  • The worldwide population of bottlenose dolphins is unknown. Specific bottlenose dolphin populations in a few areas have been estimated.
  • Age when attaining sexual maturity is variable among bottlenose dolphins. On average, females become sexually mature when they reach about 2.3 m (7.5 ft.), at about 5 to 12 years. Males become sexually mature when they reach about 2.4 to 2.6 m (8-8.5 ft.), at about 1 0 to 12 years (Mead and Potter, 1990; Odell, 1975).
life span
Life Span
  • Most bottlenose dolphins probably live 20 years or less. This estimate is based on census data from the bottlenose dolphin population off the coast of Sarasota, Florida. The Sarasota Dolphin Research Project (SDRP) is the longest-running study of wild dolphins in the world.
  • SDRP studies have shown that some dolphins live into their 40s; a few females have even lived past 50. This appears to be a maximum age, comparable to a human living to be about 100. Only 1% to 2% of dolphins reach that age.
human interaction
Human Interaction
  • Dolphins, particularly coastal animals, are affected by heavy boat traffic, habitat destruction, and pollution. Industrial and agricultural pollutants in coastal habitats have resulted in high levels of toxins in the water and high concentrations of toxins in dolphin tissues.

In the past, bottlenose dolphins have been taken directly for meat, leather, oil, and meal (for fertilizer and animal feed). Hunting still occurs in various parts of the world including Peru, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, and Japan.


    United States federal laws do not permit people to feed and swim with dolphins or other marine mammals in the wild. These actions are considered "harassment." When people try to get close to wild marine mammals, they put the animals and themselves at risk. Feeding and swimming with marine mammals in the wild is harmful to animals and sometimes dangerous to people.


When feed in the wild the animals become less willing to search for food for themselves.

  • Some people have even been caught feeding the animals sandwiches, cookies, chips, and candy.
  • In some incidences wild dolphins have attacked humans after being fed by hand. These attacks include biting, ramming and even dragging people below the surface.

The fact remain that even though bottlenose dolphins are hunt in the wild by orcas and white sharks, most of the deaths every year are caused by human activity, interaction and hunting.