Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)

In the Strait of Gibraltar we can observe Bottlenose Dolphins all year round. The animals often curiously approach our boat and surprise us with their acrobatic jumps.

What do we know about the Bottlenose Dolphins in the Strait of Gibraltar?

Bottlenose Dolphins are at home in all oceans, but can vary in size and colour depending on the region. The animals of the Strait are about 4 metres long and are light grey with a clearly darker cape and light belly. They live in groups of 2 to 15 animals.

Today Bottlenose Dolphins are among the best known. They "owe" this sad fame to TV series, dolphinariums and dolphin shows. Several Bottlenose Dolphins are still caught every year and separated from their families living in freedom. Only very few survive the stress of transport and the confinement in much too small chlorine pools; breeding offspring is still unsuccessful and has meanwhile been banned in some countries.

Observations in the wild immediately show that dolphins do not belong in dolphinariums.

On our trips in the Strait we often accompany these powerful swimmers for a while. It is easy to see how much space these animals actually need. Per day they cover about 150 kilometres and it is possible to observe a variety of behaviour: On the hunt they pass our boats without taking any notice of us. Sometimes we see them riding bow waves in front of large container ships. And then there are these special moments, when the Bottlenose Dolphins are in the mood to play and shoot out of the water close to the firmm boat and perform their acrobatic jumps.

We have known some Bottlenose Dolphins for quite some time and have learned a lot about their behaviour over the years. On our pages about the adoptions you can get to know the animals better.

For our research work we record data for each sighting. Unfortunately, the results are quite alarming, because the group size of the Bottlenose Dolphins decreases from year to year. The reason for this is still unclear. Perhaps it is the result of a change in behaviour, or also due to a viral disease. In any case, the figures do not suggest anything good. You can find more information in our research report about the Bottlenose Dolphins.

Facts worth knowing

  • greyish colour
  • dark dorsal cape
  • lighter underside
  • falcate fin
  • distinctly notched fluke
Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)
Suborder: Odontoceti (toothed whales)
Family: Delphinidae (Dolphins)
Size: 2–4 m, 150–650 kg
Size at birth: 0,85–1,3 m, 15–30 kg
Life expectancy: 50 years
Sexual maturity: with 6–12 years
Reproduction: every 2–3 years
Gestation period: 12 months
Nursing period: 12–20 months
Food: fish, squid, 18-36 kg/day
Speed: bis 35 km/h
Diving time/depth: up to 20 min/up to 300 m

Dolphin adoption

Takeover or give away a symbolic sponsorship for a whale or dolphin in the Strait of Gibraltar and support thereby the research and information work of firmm.

Inform yourself about our sponsorships!