Although you may be aware that dolphins are incredibly kind and intelligent. However, there is always more that you can learn about these wondrous sea dwelling mammals. In the following article we countdown the best and most mind bending facts about dolphins that you probably didn’t know already. Prepare to be even more stunned and captivated by these beautiful creatures.
10. In Captivity, They Have Committed Suicide
While it is very sad, it is true that one of the main causes of captive dolphin deaths is actually suicide. What’s even more surprising is that they use a wide range of different methods to take their life from simply refusing to eat to banging their heads against walls until they die.
It is thought that because dolphins often have a hard time adapting to change, such as being fed pieces of fish in captivity instead of hunting for their own raw fish. This alone can send a shock to their system and cause them to commit suicide.
9. They Have 360 Degree Vision
Most people know all about dolphin’s use of sonar – the squeaks and clicks they use to understand and navigate through the underwater world that surrounds them. You may think that their sense of vision would not be as strong because of their other senses.
However, because their eyes are situated on either side of their head they have full 360 degree vision. It also allows them to move each eye independently and they can even turn their eye to check what’s behind them. In addition, it has been discovered that they have an additional layer of reflective tissue behind their retinas which enables them to have great eyesight even in low light and dark conditions.
8. They Shut Off Half Their Brain To Sleep
There is not one living thing on the planet that can survive without some sleep that is except dolphins. Studies have shown that when dolphins they give up on the idea of sleep, which in turn causes the parents to give it up too. Amazingly though, they don’t suffer any of the ill effects associated with a lack of sleep.
In fact dolphins have a special technique for dealing this this sleeplessness – amazingly, they switch off one side of their brain. While one half of their brain is not working, the other half takes control.
7. They Have A Very Powerful Respiratory System
You may have wondered why dolphins are so good at swimming. This is mostly due to their very powerful respiratory system and lungs. Interestingly, while dolphin’s lungs are not much bigger than human’s, they are actually stronger. With every breath they take in, they get around 80% of the oxygen in it.
This is a staggering statistic considering that humans only exchange around 17% of the oxygen in the air we breathe. For dolphins it means they are able to transport a larger amount of oxygen in their blood throughout their body and also means they have a higher concentration of hemoglobin. It is also enables them to dive down to 500 meters and hold their breath for 11 minutes.
6. They Always Have Shiny Skin
If you have ever looked at a dolphin and asked yourself “Why is their skin not covered in barnacles and so shiny compared to other creatures like whales?” The answer is that while their epidermis is tough like a human’s it is around 20 times thicker.
Further to that fact, dolphins are capable of replacing old skin with new in as little as two hours. It’s because of this incredibly fast regeneration process that gives them such glossy and smooth skin.
5. They Actually Name Themselves
As stated at the outset there is still much that can be learned about dolphins as one of the smartest mammals, not only in the sea, but in the world. Recent studies have shown that dolphins actually develop their own unique whistles, whistles that act as names.
Scientists ran experiments by changing the tone of dolphin’s whistles using computers. Surprisingly, each of the dolphins tested reacted to their own whistles (or names) and the whistles (names) of the group they swam around with.
4. They Are Able To Handle Terrible Pain
Dolphins are not only incredibly intelligent, but they have some strange abilities. It enables them to not pay attention to what we as humans and other animals would consider to horrible pain. Even when they have suffered an attack and are terribly wounded, they continue with life as if it was nothing at all.
This is due to the fact that dolphin’s bodies naturally produce a painkiller similar to morphine, which gives the impression the dolphin is okay; even if they are badly injured and bleeding.
3. They Are Resistant To Most Infections
Another surprising fact about dolphins is that they are able to swim through waters full of bacteria with open wounds without getting infected. While a dolphin’s immune system is almost the same as a human’s, scientists have not be able to explain why they can survive the bite of a shark’s dirty teeth without the wound becoming infected.
The closest to an explanation anyone has got is that plankton and algae, found in dolphin blubber, have antibiotic properties which combat infection.
Though that may explain why they are able to avoid infections, it doesn’t explain how they store the chemicals from these particular plants underneath their skin.
2. They Have Very Strong Muscles
Dolphins, as you probably know, are great swimmers. In fact, because of their strong muscles they are able to produce 200 pounds of thrust, without even swimming at full speed. When at full speed they can produce a mind-blowing 400 pounds of thrust. To put this into perspective, the average Olympic swimmer can produce just 60 pounds of thrust.
1. They Can Sense The Earth’s Magnetic Field
Scientists and marine biologists in the past had been puzzled as to why dolphins and whales at times end up stranded on beaches. Research discovered that they have magnetic crystal clusters in their brains which mean they are capable of seeing the earth’s magnetic field.
This works like an internal GPS system which enables them to navigate through the ocean efficiently. What scientists found when looked into this subject deeper is that the particular beaches where dolphins and whales had been found had much weaker magnetic fields.
It is thought that this could be what is confusing dolphins and making them think they are deep in the ocean when in fact they are swimming towards land. Sadly, they would only realize it when it is far too late. It is also believed that the sun’s radiation could confuse dolphin’s magnetic sense too.
There you have it, 10 facts you may or may not have known about dolphins but facts we are sure you will agree are as unbelievable as they are interesting.