20 Interesting Facts about Dolphins

We are always getting questions about dolphins, because they are one of the most popular creature among us divers. So we decided to put together a bunch of the most interesting facts about dolphins online!

One of our main goals here at Art of Scuba Diving is to inspire new generations of ocean lovers, marine biologists and conservationists, by doing our small part to bring awareness via articles, photos, videos and more.

Amazing creatures, the pink dolphin in the Amazon, are always in danger of disappearing, but if no one even knows about them, nothing ever gets done. This has to stop. So we are here to spread the word!


20 Interesting Facts about Dolphins

dolphin in hawaii


1. Dolphins are a predator that eat an average of 33 pounds of fish per day. They eat a big variety, but shrimp and squid are a favorite.

2. Because they eat so much, dolphin stomachs are designed for rapid digestion.

3.They are one of the few marine species with a wolf pack style of hunting, where they work together to coral and pin fish schools, each having apparent roles. This makes them extremely good hunters.


scuba diving with dolphins


4. Dolphins have almost no natural predators, humans being the main one. Especially in packs (schools? herds?), dolphins can fight off sharks and protect their young.

5. Archeologist actually think that millions of years ago, dolphins originally had legs, and were land animals. In moders day they have even been seen with extra fins, to support that idea.

Some believe they are closely related to the hippo, but eventually transitioned into marine animals, and lost their legs. Fossil records prove this, as well as the fact that they need air to breath.


interesting facts about dolphins


6. Although dolphin variations are about 40 million years old, the first recording of a dolphin and human interaction was found in the ancient city of Petra in Jordan. In ancient Greece dolphins were important, and ofter used by gods as messengers, and they were held to high esteem. Romans believed dolphins transported souls to an island of glass, and it was a great sin to ever kill one in either culture.

7. Besides humans, dolphins have the most developed brain in the animal kingdom. They are able to process information like us and apes, and learn and remember. Which comes in handy for survival. From the many fishing practices observed by man, such as following fishing boats, using bubbles to scare schools to the surface, communicating and more, it becomes obvious.

spinner dolphin

8. Because of how smart dolphins are, depending on the species, dolphins can live very long lives from 40-70 years, thanks to excellent hunting and survival skills.

9. We think that dolphins are socially aware, and have exhibited traits such as jealousy, favoritism, recognition, happiness and more. They are very social animals that form pods, sometimes in the thousands. They have even been seen protecting humans from sharks, and recognizing old friends they hav’nt seen in years.

10. Dolphins have a natural sonar ability, called echo location, that allows them to identify things from hundreds of yards away. Experiments have even shown that they are so precise that they can distinguish between a golf ball and a pingpong ball hitting the water.

11. Although dolphins are marine animals, never leaving the water, it only takes a spoon full of water in their lungs to drown them. They do have a high red blood cell count to be able to hold their breath longer, but they have to be very careful. Even when they sleep, part of their brain stays away to be able to keep breathing, and they sleep near the surface.

12. Besides humans, dolphins are one of the only animals that mate for fun, not to breed. They are one of, if not THE most prolific sexual pleasure seekers in the world, and are estimated to spend 80% of their time in the pursuit of it.

They come up with all kinds of sexual acts, but not just with each other, and have been caught in the act with moray eels and even humans. These guys are deviants.

13. There are actually 38 species of dolphins, and one you might not know about is the killer whale. Killer whale orcas are actually giant dolphins.

14. Dolphins can swim at speeds of 25 miles per hour if they want (probably looking for a nice moray eel), but normally average about 7 or 8 miles per hour.


Facts about dolphins
Maui’s dolphin or popoto

15. The smallest dolphin species is about 4 feet long, and is the Maui’s dolphin or popoto (also super rare), the biggest being the killer whale.

16. Dolphins swallow their food whole, and don’t chew with their teeth. Their normally just shake the fish until its swallow size, and use teeth for grabbing and hanging on.

17. Dolphins have been recorded to dive to 1000 feet, but they spend almost all of their lives in shallow waters. Some species stay in waters of 10 feet or less most of their life.


dolphin facts


18. Dolphins have been seen teaching their young how to use tools. Such as rubbing on certain soft corals to coat their skin like sunscreen, or covering their noses with sponges to protect it while foraging.

19. Some dolphins need to breath every 20 seconds, and some can wait 30 minutes.

20. Dolphins are the only mammals on Earth to give birth tail first, instead of the head.


So there you have it! Did you learn anything new from these 20 interesting facts about dolphins? What surprises you the most? Let us know in the comments below!

Be sure to also check out these related articles: Interesting Facts about Whale Sharks as well as Facts about the Great Barrier Reef!

If you are interested in being able to dive or swim with dolphins in the wild, Bali is a great place to do it, and we put together the ultimate guide of 101 things to do around Bali HERE.