Dolphins are a creature as old as time itself. No one quite knows how old this species is but it dates back centuries ago. Can you imagine being one of the first people alive to see this magnificent creature? Most of the time dolphins live out in the depths of the ocean but at certain locations such as the beautiful Gulf Coast you can witness their breathtaking beauty as they zip through the waters.
Perhaps you’ve seen the film Free Willy? This tale is about the capture of a huge killer whale which is a large subspecies of dolphin. These killer whales can reach up to 12,000 pounds. Females of the type are slightly smaller but still huge compared to the common dolphin found along our shores. Can you imagine a dolphin as big as that? Our local dolphins, the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), is much smaller in stature. They range from 300 to 1300 pounds and can be grey with a white underside.
Have you ever wondered why dolphins range in color from dark to light? Dolphins that live in deeper oceanic waters tend to be darker because of the lack of sunlight deep in their ocean homes. Most dolphins however tend to have a grey colored backside with a light underbelly. The underbelly, when seen from below, blends in with the light coming from the sky above. This unique adaptation keeps predators from seeing a dolphin as it breaches the surface for air.
Is a Dolphin a Fish?
No. Dolphins may live in the ocean and have a body shaped similar to a fish but they are air breathing mammals from the class Mammalia, warm-blooded vertebrates that nourish their young from the milk produced by their body. Unlike fish that lay eggs, dolphins are born after a twelve month span inside the mother (just a little longer than humans). Did you know a baby dolphin, or calf, is born tail first so it doesn’t drown? Then it proceeds to swim to the surface to take its first gulp of air. This is an incredible sight to witness.
Imagine being in the middle of a pod of 20 dolphins as you ride the waves on a personal tour of the amazing Gulf Coast. Bottlenose dolphins seem to pop up predictably in certain areas around the coast of Florida so sightseeing tours such as Southern Star Dolphin Cruise are able to determine where the dolphins will be at a given time each day. They have been in the business for so long that they can predict the dolphins migration at certain times in the season and when the best time of day is to see them breach the surface. Sometimes these playful dolphins will show off with some smiles and playful leaps out of the water to impress their observers. Come see these beauties in their natural habitat.