The Bottlenose Dolphin

The Bottlenose Dolphin is part of the Tursiopstruncatus Genus Lissodelphis family. These particular dolphins vary in size due to habitat differences. The average size of a Bottlenose Dolphin is 8.2 to 8.9 feet when fully grown and weigh between 419 to 573lbs. in Florida waters. In the Pacific they can reach lengths of 12 feet and weigh as much as 1000lbs. The Bottlenose Dolphin found in the Mediterranian Ocean can reach lengths exceeding 12 feet. On average, full-grown males are longer than the females and much heavier. Female Bottlenose Dolphins grow at a faster rate than the males and will not reach their peak size until they are around 10 years old.

The Bottlenose Dolphin has a sleek proportioned body and are gray to gray-green or gray-brown in color on there backs. There bellies are a faded white extending from their jaws to their tail fluke. The white on their bellies allows them to blend with the waters bright surface.

Bottlenose Dolphins can be found in pelagic zones as well as harbors, bays, lagoons, gulfs and estuaries. They inhabit warm temperature waters and tropical waters around the world.

In the Pacific Ocean Bottlenose Dolphins can be found from Northern Japan and California to Australia and Chile. They are also found in the Eastern Tropical Pacific as far west as the Hawiian Islands. In the Atlantic Ocean these dolphins are found from Nova Scotia and Norway to Patagonia and the tip of South Africa. The Bottlenose Dolphin is the most commonly found dolphin in the United States from Cape Cod through the Gulf of Mexico. In the Mediterranian Sea and the Indian Ocean the Bottlenose Dolphin can also be found.

Variations in water temperature and fish migration in the different areas of the world where the Bottlenose Dolphin lives affects the seasonal migration of these mammals. They travel when the seasons change due to a water temperature change that happens as well. They will also move or migrate in search of food.

A female Bottlenose Dolphin becomes sexually mature at the age of 5-12 years old or about 7.5 feet in length. The males are about 8 to 8.5 feet and 10-12 years when they reach sexual maturity. The female dolphin is able to have a calf every 2-3 years but generally waits 3 years. A calf weighs about 44lbs at birth with a length of 42-52 inches. A calf will stay very close to its mother after birth and will take milk from its mother about every 8 minutes for about 10 seconds. The calfs will begin to eat solid food at about three to four months of age when its teeth begin to form.

The actual population of the Bottlenose Dolphins is unknown. There are estimates however of the population size in some parts of the world. The Gulf of Mexico estimates the population to be at least 67,000. In the Western North Pacific and along the Japanese Coast they have an estimated count of 35,000, while less than 10,000 are estimated in the Mediterranean. The Western North Atlantic in the United States estimates the Bottlenose Dolphin population to be around 11,700.