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  • Dolphin Behavior
Dolphin Behavior

It is necessary to remember that the dolphins have been living in this area for millions of years before the arrival of humans and that they lead rich and busy lives. We need to respect the fact that they have many priorities and they sometimes need their privacy and space. Wild dolphins are also very spontaneous and can sometimes go from feeding, to sleeping, to playing and mating within 20 minutes time. The following are some examples of dolphin behavior you may witness on one of our excursions to the dolphins’ home.

Our Behavior while Watching Wild Dolphins

We operate our boats with concern and common sense when observing wild dolphins. We never approach at high speed, chase or herd the dolphins. If we find ourselves within 50 yards of dolphins we operate at idle speeds and avoid using reverse gear. We do our best to stay on a parallel course to the dolphins in order to avoid blocking or interfering with their path. We absolutely never feed or harass dolphins.

• Common Bottle Nose Dolphins (Delphinidae Tursiops truncatus)
• About 200 Bottlenose Dolphins live in the Lower Florida Keys
• Adults Weigh between 600-700 pounds (270-320 Kg)
Natural Foraging & Feeding

Dolphins are champions at catching fish and it is joy to have the privilege of watching their strength, speed, and agility in action. When dolphins are feeding we always watch from a distance. This is a great time for topside observation and zoom lens photography. You often see the dolphins chasing and herding fish both cooperatively and individually.

​• A great chance to witness dolphin’s athleticism

• Dolphins typically stay under longer during hunting

• Sometimes they’ll play with a fish they catch

Socializing, Playing & Mating Behavior

When dolphins are in a playful, social mood they are full of energy and exuberance. Social time usually starts off with several dolphins swimming together, rubbing pectoral fins, and being extremely tactile with one another. Sometimes the younger dolphins and babies will play games with one another, tossing a sand dollar, playing tag with a piece of seaweed, and even wrestling each other. Some of these behaviors even mimic adult dolphin mating behavior.

This playful time is when they are most likely to interact with humans and will often seek out boats to surf along with. Dolphins are extremely intelligent and their interest in us is often based on curiosity and spontaneity. Sometimes they can’t resist bow-riding or just coming over to greet their old friend, ‘Patty C.’

​• The “catch-all” behavior

• Dolphins might be seen racing around, jumping, or lounging

•Often playful dolphins are when we get the closest views, as they’ll often come over to check out the boat.

Rest & Sleep

Dolphins sleep with only half of their brain at a time. They close one eye, which allows the opposite side of the brain to go into sleep mode. It is more like we would think of as a deep meditation. They don’t have a specific time to rest or sleep like humans do. They decide to sleep as a group and most of the pod will go into this half sleep at the time.

• Sleep about 8 hours per day

• Famously sleep with one eye open.

• Often in groups of about 4, but can vary widely.

Caring for & Teaching their Young

Dolphins are highly intelligent animals with complex social structures. The first several years of a baby dolphins life is spent very close to his mother watching and learning everything from her and his/her other elders. Everything from navigating and traveling in new areas, hunting different species of fish, and even social skills are learned behaviors. It is because of this that researchers are beginning to study cultural differences in dolphin pods around the world. Just as it is known that pods of orca whales from different areas have distinct dialects, the same applies to other cetaceans and their habits.

​• Young dolphins are often the most curious about us

• Baby dolphins are just as cute as you’d expect!

• Baby’s are most often seen in early Spring season