- Name: Dolphin (Oceanic Dolphin)
- Order: Artiodactyla
- Infraorder: Cetacea
- Superfamily: Delphinoidea
- Family: Delphinidae
- Subfamilies: 5
- Total Species: 37+
15 Dolphin Facts for Kids
- A dolphin is an aquatic mammal that is a member of the Cetacea infraorder.
- The phrase dolphin is Greek, which is interpreted as fish with a womb.
- Dolphin is a common name used for species in the Delphinidae (oceanic dolphins), Iniidae (New World river dolphins), Platanistidae (Indian river dolphins) and Pontoporiidae (the brackish dolphins) families.
- Dolphins are mammals, even though they spend their entire life in the water.
- Dolphins are mammals because they breath oxygen, give live birth, feed their babies milk and are warm blooded.
- Dolphins are carnivores and feed on fish and squid. Larger species, like the orca (Orcinus orca), feed on large marine mammals.
- The average length of a dolphin varies by species. They can be as short as 5.6 feet or as long as 31 feet.
- The average weight of a dolphin varies by species. They can be as light as 110 pounds or as heavy as 11 tons.
- The smallest species of dolphin is the Maui dolphin or popoto (Cephalorhynchus hectori maui).
- The largest species of dolphin is the orca (Orcinus orca), also known as a killer whale.
- A male dolphin is called a bull, a female dolphin is called a cow and a young dolphin is called a calf.
- Dolphins do live in groups, and these groups are called pods or schools.
- Dolphins are intelligent, and excluding humans, they might be the smartest mammals on the planet.
- Dolphins can communicate with each other by making clicking, whistling and other sounds.
- Dolphins don’t have to drink water. They get all of their hydration from the fish they eat.
A picture of a dolphin eating an octopus.
Credit: Mucru, Kate Sporgis
A picture of a large pod of dolphins.
Credit: Antonio Ramirez
A picture of a mother dolphin and her baby.
Credit: Chicago Zoological Society
Additional Resources with Dolphin Facts
- Dolphins – Learn more about dolphins on the Defenders of Wildlife website.
- Dolphin Facts – Read some amazing dolphin facts on the National Geographic website.
- Dolphins and Porpoises – Explore and learn about different dolphin species on the NOAA Fisheries website.