Bottlenose Dolphins

The bottlenose dolphin is perhaps one of the most well known cetaceans, because of its widespread use in marine parks and research facilities. The bottlenose dolphin may be best known as "Flipper" (as seen in the television series). This is the dolphin most frequently seen along the shores of the United States. This species is very flexible in its behavior.


The bottlenose dolphin is highly adapted to an aquatic environment and everything about its long, sleek, muscular body is suited for an active life in water.

Dolphin Anatomy

Here’s a field guide to a few of its more notable external physical features.


Tuna Tuna are among the bottlenose dolphin's preferred foods.

Dolphin pod
Groups of a dozen or so Bottlenose have been known to join together to form an
even larger herd and swim alongside of the Atlantic Pilot Whale in the Atlantic.

Interaction with humans

When interacting with dolphins, you must be very careful. While most dolphins and people can swim perfectly happily together, dolphins are wild creatures and cannot easily communicate pain or discomfort to humans. It is always important to refrain from touching near a dolphin's eye or blowhole, and to avoid too much body-to-body contact to protect the health of the dolphin.

Dolphin Therapy Children respond more positively to dolphins than to other animals. When handicapped children play with dolphins they relax and concentrate far more than in conventional situations. Military Dolphin A bottlenose dolphin leaps out of the water while training near USS Gunston Hall in the Arabian Gulf during Operation Iraqi Freedom. It is wearing an acoustic tracking device on its fin.

References: Smithsonian National Zoological Park, Wikipedia, Defenders of Wildlife, American Cetacean Society, Kid's National Geographic, MarineBio, Enchanted Learning, & NDIA San Diego

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