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What Do Dolphins Eat

Dolphins are a form of mammal that lives in water. There are both fresh water and salt water dolphins. They are part of the same family as whales and porpoises. They have a long lithe body with a dorsal fin, two pectoral fins and a large paddle like tail fin called a fluke. They are highly intelligent and friendly preferring to travel in pods. There are almost forty species of Dolphin and they are found worldwide mostly in the shallower water near the continental shelves. Dolphins come in all shapes and sizes from 1.2 m (4 ft) and 40 kg (90 lb) (Maui’s dolphin), up to 9.5 m (30 ft) and 10 tonnes (9.8 LT; 11 ST). Did you know that the Killer Whale is actually a dolphin?

What Do Dolphins Eat in the Wild?
Dolphins are carnivores and eat a variety of marine life. Each species of dolphin has a slightly different diet and the diet of a fresh water and salt water dolphin differ from one another also. Most dolphin species live primarily on a diet of fish and squid. Dolphins that eat fish that are high in fat require less food than other dolphins that live mainly on squid. Large dolphins such as Killer Whales (Orcas) eat larger marine animals such as seals, penguins and turtles. Smaller dolphins may also eat krill and small marine life such as shrimp, prawns and crabs.

What Do Dolphins Eat in Captivity?
Dolphins kept in captivity have a very similar diet to in the wild. Trainers and carers provide the dolphin with a wide variety of fish. The most common fish that dolphins are fed are mackerel and herring. The major difference in the diet of a wild dolphin and one in captivity is that dolphins kept in captivity have to learn to eat dead food. Keeping live food stock is difficult and not cost effective.

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