Bottlenose Dolphin Facts

FAQ About Port Stephens Bottlenose Dolphins:

1. How many dolphins are there in the Port Stephens bay area?
80 resident & 40 to 60 visiting coastal Bottlenose Dolphins.

2. How long do dolphins live for?
Male dolphins live for around 40 years, while females live longer.

3. How big are dolphins?
About 2.5m maximum & around 200kg.

4. When can female dolphins first give birth & how often do they have calves?
Dolphins give birth to their first calf at 8 to 10 years of age & then it takes 3 to 4 years between calves.

5. What do dolphins eat & how much?
Mullet, whiting, mackerel, flathead, squid, cuttlefish etc. About 10kgs per day.

6. What is the difference between dolphins & porpoises?
Dolphins have conical teeth & porpoises have spade shape teeth and a shorter rostrum (snout).

7. Do dolphins always stay in the Port Stephens bay area?
No, they travel in and out regularly.

Bottlenose Dolphin Facts Port Stephens Dolphins FAQs 8. Do they mix with other dolphins?
Port Stephens Bottlenose Dolphins don’t defend a territory, but they do have a home range in which they interact with other Bottlenose Dolphins, but rarely with other species.

9. Do dolphins have one partner for life?
Absolutely not. Males form very strong bonds with other males. Female dolphins often associate with relatives. After mating, male dolphins do not stay with females. There is no long term bond between males & females.

10. What is the average dolphin group size in the Port Stephens?
Female dolphins live in groups of 6 to 8 with their young inside Port Stephens, with larger groups outside. Male dolphins form strong alliances of 2 to 4 individuals.

11. How long can dolphins stay under water for and how far can they dive?
Dolphins can usually stay underwater for about 30 sec. to 2min. with a maximum of up to 6 to 10 min. The Port Stephens dolphins dive to 40m in the Bay.

12. How long does a dolphin calf suckle?
Approximately 18 months and about every half an hour.

13. Does a family pod exist?
No, female dolphins live together in a group with offspring while alliances of males move between female groups.

14. Do dolphins sleep? If so, how?
No, dolphins rest half of their brain for a few minutes at a time so they can surface and take a breath. Anaesthetic kills them.

15. Do dolphins mate all year round?
Yes, with peak season in summer and autumn.

16. How fast can dolphins swim?
Bottlenose dolphins: 12-16 knots; offshore Common Dolphins: 20-30 knots.

17. Are dolphins related to whales?
Yes, dolphins & whales are both cetaceans and very closely related. Orcas are the biggest of the dolphins.

18. Do dolphins fight each other, and if so, why?
Yes, alliances of male dolphins can fight each other competing for access to females.

19. Will dolphins attack a shark and why?
Generally dolphins will not attack sharks, but in a group sometimes they have done it. They can be curious of sharks or feed in the same area and are more likely to be attacked by them. Some large sharks feed on Bottlenose Dolphins.