Friday, September 6, 2019

Common Bottlenose Dolphin

The common bottlenose dolphin, or Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, is the kind of dolphin featured in the show Flipper which I watched as a youth. They are found in warm and temperate seas worldwide. They are gray, between 6.5 and 13 feet long, and weigh 330 to 1,430 pounds. The name "bottlenose" comes from the snout that looks like an old-fashioned gin bottle. However, the snout does not function as a nose, they breath through a blow-hole on the top of their head, like a whale. 
We learned that they can distinguish individual dolphins by the fin on the back. This one has frayed edges. I can't tell if the fraying is something external to the dolphin, like barnacles or seaweed, or a deterioration of the fin.  
I was with my nephew John on a trip through northeastern Mexico and we ventured north of the border into southern Texas. Outside Brownsville, in Port Isabel, just before the bridge over to South Padre Island, we visited the Dolphin Research and Sealife Nature Center, run by a husband and wife team, and took a small motor boat out into the lagoon between the mainland and South Padre Island to look for dolphins. 

There were five of us on the boat and two small dogs. We encountered two very large boats out in the lagoon also carrying passengers looking for dolphins, and I was happy to be on the small boat, much closer to the water and we did get very close to the dolphins, at times underwater right next to the boat.  

I didn't get any great photos, no dolphins leaping out of the water, or sticking their heads out of the water to look at us, but I did get some photos with recognizable head shots of dolphins and the adventure was well-worth the $25 we each spent for an hour and a half on the water. I compare this much more intimate experience with our experience seeing white-beaked dolphins in Iceland, on a much larger boat, and would take this experience any day. 


  1. That looks like quite a few! How far from shore were you?

    1. Not far, just in a manmade channel between the mainland and the island. The lady said this pod came in a decade ago to escape a hurricane and then never left.