Q&A with the Dolphin Class


Now that The River School’s 1st Grade Dolphin Class has explored our website and discussed dolphins, they have submitted the following questions to our researchers. We hope everyone enjoys reading their questions, and our answers. Thank you Dolphin Class!

Q: How long can they stay out of the water?
A: Dolphins cannot stay out of the water for very long. Although they are very good at leaping out of the water, their bodies are designed for the ocean. So, if they find themselves on dry land, like when they strand on the beach, they need to get back to the sea as quickly as possible.

Q: Do they like to play?
A: Yes! Dolphins are social animals and this includes lots of play. Like us, there seems to be more play among young dolphins, but even older dolphins play! Dolphins play with each other and with objects in the water, like fish and seaweed.

Q: How do Dolphins get their color?
A: Many dolphins have skin colors that help them blend in with their environment, the ocean. The bottlenose dolphins and Atlantic spotted dolphins that we study are “two-toned” or “counter shaded.” They are dark on their backs and light on their bellies.

Q: When was Leslie born?
A: We do not know when Leslie (ID#80) was born. But, we first saw her in 2004. She was a juvenile dolphin then and was probably born around 2000.

Q: How do they eat?
A: What dolphins eat depends on what species they are and where they live. Off the island of Bimini in The Bahamas, we have seen Atlantic spotted dolphins chase and eat fish called mackerel.

Q: Where are their ears?
A: Dolphins do not have ears that stick out like we do. But, they do have tiny holes behind their eyes – their ear holes! By not having ear flaps, their heads are nice and smooth for swimming through the water.

Q: How long can Dolphins stay underwater on one breath?
A: How long a dolphin can hold its breath all depends on which species of dolphin we’re asking about. We’re not sure how long the Atlantic spotted dolphin holds its breath. Maybe one day we will!

Q: How do we know which sound means something like hello with Dolphins?
A: We’re not sure which sounds have which meanings for dolphins; in fact, their communication probably isn’t like the languages humans speak (like English or Spanish). But, they do use sounds to communicate, as well as touch. We see dolphins rub their fins against each other all the time!

Q: How fast do Dolphins swim?
A: The speed a dolphin swims at also varies by species. Some dolphins have been recorded swimming 17, 20, even more than 30 miles per hour. That’s a lot faster than even the fastest human swimmer!

Q: How do you name the Dolphins?
A: Naming the dolphins we study is one of the ways that DCP raises money for our research. When we have a dolphin who we know fairly well, and we have photos and video of that dolphin, we give someone the chance to donate money and name the dolphin! Then, lots of other people can adopt the dolphin; just like your class adopted “Leslie!”