Dolphin Facts for Kids

Here are dolphin facts for your kids to learn all about these intelligent and affable marine mammals!

A child hugging a dolphin

Dolphins are some of the coolest creatures in the deep blue sea. On this page, you'll get to learn all about these intelligent and incredible marine mammals. Read on for fun and interesting Dolphin Facts for Kids that your children can enjoy learning. Also check out the many dolphin tours we offer here at Vallarta Adventures today!

What are dolphins?

Dolphins are a diverse group of marine mammals of the Delphinidae, Platanistidae, Iniidae, and Pontoporiidae families. There are 40 species of dolphins known to exist. Most dolphin species live in the world's oceans, while a few — the freshwater dolphins — live in the world's largest rivers.


How do dolphins breathe?

Dolphins breathe fresh air, just like all marine mammals. They do this through a single blowhole located atop their backs. Dolphins have non-flexible necks, limbs modified into flippers, non-existent external ear flaps, a tail fin, and bulbous heads.  Distinguishing characteristics of dolphins include small eye orbits, long snouts, and conical teeth.


Are dolphins intelligent?

Dolphins are one of the world's smartest animals. Studies have shown dolphins to be highly social, traveling in groups called "pods" and displaying several signs of culture. These include the use of tools (such as using sponges to protect their snouts while foraging), which is taught by mothers to offspring. Dolphins communicate using a variety of clicks, whistle-like sounds, and other vocalizations. (Their clicks are a form of echolocation and are used for navigation.) Dolphins also use nonverbal communication by means of touch and posturing.


How big are dolphins?

Dolphins vary considerably in size between species. The smallest dolphin species, the Maui's Dolphin is 1.7 meters (5.6 feet) long and weighs 50 kilograms (110 pounds). The largest dolphins species in the famous orca, or "killer whale," which is 9.5 meters (31 feet) in length and weighs 10 tonnes (11 short tons).


What do dolphins eat?

Most dolphin species hunt and eat smaller fish like herring, cod or mackerel — some others eat squids or other cephalopods. Orcas often hunt and eat seals.


Where are dolphins found?

Dolphins live in virtually all of the world’s major bodies of water. Saltwater dolphins are found in all of the world’s oceans. Many of these dolphin species, such as the short-beaked common dolphin, the long-beaked common dolphin, and the Pacific bottlenose dolphin are cosmopolitan, meaning they travel around the oceans of the world and are not restricted to one region. Other dolphin species, such as the Atlantic spotted dolphin, Chilean dolphin, and Guiana dolphin, can only be found in specific ocean waters.

Aside from the saltwater dolphins, there are also a select handful of dolphin species found only in freshwater rivers. These species include the Amazon river dolphin, Araguaian river dolphin, Bolivian river dolphin, and the Tucuxi (all found in the Amazon river), as well as the South Asian river dolphin (found in the rivers of South Asia).


What kinds of dolphins are found in Puerto Vallarta?

The Pacific bottlenose dolphin is the most commonly-found species in the waters around Puerto Vallarta — though the pantropical spotted dolphin can also be seen with some regularity. Killer whales, false killer whales, rough-toothed dolphins, and spinner dolphins can also be glimpsed on occasion. Visiting Puerto Vallarta? Check out our dolphin tours to see dolphins in the wild and swim with them at our award-winning dolphin center here at Vallarta Adventures!

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