Dolphins are not only beautiful and fun to watch, they are an important part of a very complex and fragile ecosystem. As an indicator species, the dolphins are a barometer of the health of our coastal waters. They need a safe and peaceful place to live and raise their young, sufficient natural food, clean water and clean air.
Dolphins are mammals. They breathe air, are warm blooded, give live birth to babies and nurse their young — they are not fish.
All have cone shaped teeth. They live in temperate and tropical waters worldwide. There are also several species of freshwater and river dolphins, all of which are either threatened or in danger of extinction
Dolphins are cetaceans, like whales. They belong to the group of the toothed whales.
The fastest dolphins can swim up to 32 km/h.
Dolphins can stay up to 15 minutes under water.They only do this some times as they usually stay only a few minutes diving before reaching the surface for air.
Dolphins breathe through their blowhole. This is the specialised single nostril, which is situated at the top of their head. The process of filling and emptying its lungs happens in less than one fifth of a second. There is a complex nerve that exists around the blowhole. This nerve can sense the pressure changes and this alerts the dolphin as to when the blowhole can be opened.
A dolphin breathes on an average count of 2 to 3 per minute and can hold their breath for around 10 minutes. They generally exhale at the surface of the water. At this point of time they quickly exhale and relax and close the muscular flap. As the dolphin exhales the seawater along with the respiratory gases is thrown up from the blowhole. Nearly 80 per cent of lung air exchanges during a respiratory process. The whole process of breathing takes around 0.3 seconds.
Dolphins have a special sense called echo location which is used for navigation and to find and obtain food. Echo location involves the production of sound in the nasal sacs or sinus cavities of the dolphins. The sound is focused by the melon, an oil-filled sac seen as a bulge on the dolphin’s forehead, and then projected toward objects in the water. Sounds that strike any object (a fish, human, boat or ocean floor) are reflected back to the dolphin and received by the lower jaw, where they are passed to the dolphin’s brain. The dolphins can form sound pictures of objects based on the difference between the density of the object and the density of the surrounding water. Dolphin echo location only works within the water.
Female dolphins pregnancies last approximately 12 months. They give birth to a single calf weighing 25 to 40 pounds and 24 to 36 inches long. They nurse their young for the first two years. For the first year the calf feeds exclusively on mother’s milk. They remain with their mothers for the first five to eight years, learning social and feeding skills from extended mother-calf family groups. (Adult and sub adult females and calves of both sexes traveling together in a group are called a pod). The male dolphins generally play little part in the rearing process. Juvenile dolphins of both sexes frequently leave the mother/calf pods for extended periods of time.
Female dolphins usually rejoin their mother’s pod and males remain with other males, often forming lifelong cooperative coalitions.
In Dolphin Beach there is a pod of Pink and Grey Indo-pacific Humpback Dolphins, living around the whole bay.
These pink dolphins are thought to be an unique and sub-species of the chinese white dolphin, a member of the indo – pacific humpback dolphin family. They are known for their bright pink colour. These dolphins are rare and can only be found in small populations off the coast of China, Singapore, and Vietnam.
These rare pink dolphins can be sighted regularly from the Sam Roi Yod beach (therefore they call our beach also dolphin beach).