Nature today | Do you know the difference between a dolphin and a whale?

Spoiler Warning: Dolphins are actually whales. At the very least, they belong to the Cetacean family. Scientifically, all whales, dolphins and porpoises belong to the Cetaceans (Cetaceans). Within Cetaceans there are two sub-boundaries: baleen whales and toothed whales. Most baleen whales are as large as blue whales and humpback whales. Toothed whales include dolphins and orcas. Orcas are actually very large dolphins and can grow up to ten meters in length. Most dolphins are two to three meters long. Yes, arcs are dolphins, and dolphins are whales!

Let yourself explode

Dolphins and baleen whales are both mammals, so they have to come to the surface to breathe. They breathe through the trumpet at the top of the head. And they are very intelligent animals. The two make sounds to communicate. Since whales communicate primarily underwater, you may be less familiar with those sounds than the distinctive click and whistle sounds of dolphins. The sound of the whale is very special, also known as the song of the whale. Whales seem to actually sing with a predictable and recognizable form of sounds. Dolphins, on the other hand, can also use echolocation which cannot be done by baleen whales.

A good snack

Despite their large size, baleen whales eat grill: small shrimp-like creatures. But they eat it in large quantities. They actually eat tons of grill and smaller fish than some big fish. Dolphins, on the other hand, eat a wide variety of fish and shellfish, such as shrimp. The types of fish they eat depend on where they live and what species swim there.

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Real group animals

A pilot whale mother and calf swim in the sea in front of the Bremer Bay Canyon in Western Australia

Almost all dolphins and baleen whales live in a group. It is safe and makes food hunting easy. A group of dolphins Some dolphins may have hundreds or thousands of animals because they are so social. Humpback whales are solitary in nature and usually live in small groups of two or three animals. Because of their size, they are much less likely to attack than dolphins. Both creatures reproduce more slowly than other animals – in that sense they resemble humans. Dolphins and baleen whales only have one cub at a time. Dolphins give birth to a baby every two to three years, while baleen whales usually give birth every two to five years. Most dolphins have a gestation period of ten to twelve months, depending on the species. Orcas’ gestation period is not less than eighteen months!

Are they dangerous creatures?

Like many animals, marine animals are affected by the effects of climate change and human activities. Due to numerous collisions with vessels and problems with fishing nets, many species are on the verge of extinction. There are only 9 or 10 California porpoises and 55 Maui dolphins. The Maui dolphin lives only on the New Zealand coast. With a population of less than 360, the North Right Whale is also critically endangered.

How IFAW protects marine animals …

A whale swims off the coast of Tonga in the Pacific Ocean

It is important to protect the oceans and the animals that live in them. It International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is at the forefront of on-site clinical trials and treatments for trapped dolphins and whales. In this way, the animals have a higher chance of survival, but enjoy a better life after they are released. Since 1998, the dolphin release rate has risen from 15 percent to over 79 percent. Today, IFAW is an expert in rescuing stranded and trapped marine life and shares our knowledge with other experts around the world. Together we are building a global mammal rescue network across all seas. In the Netherlands we have supported the local organization SOS Dolfijn in recent years. We will continue to work with this company now and in the future.

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Text: IFAW
Photos: Scott Portelli (Front photo: A group of common dolphins swimming underwater on the shores of the Azores, a group of Portuguese islands); Lisa Skelton; Vanessa Mignon

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