Facts About Dolphins, Whales, Seals, Otters, for Kids
Facts About Dolphins for Kids
Ocean mammals have long captured our attention and our hearts. However, you might know some of the following interesting facts about our relatives in the sea:
1. What is Flipper doing with Sponge Bob? Dolphins have been observed using sea sponges as they scavenge for food on the ocean floor. It is believed that they use the sponges to protect their noses from being scratched.
Facts About Killer Whales for Kids
2. Orcas, other wise known as killer whales, are not whales. They are actually the largest species of dolphin.
3. Orcas got the name “killer whale” after being observed killing whales for food. In fact, the orca is the only natural predator of humpback whales. About fifteen percent of all humpbacks have scars left after an orca attacks.
4. Although they are known for their ability to kill whales, an orca’s diet consists more of fish. However, they have also been observed eating sea birds, dolphin, sharks, seals, and even swimming deer and moose.
5. Some dolphin species, such as orcas and bottlenose, have been observed beaching themselves on purpose in order to go after their prey.
6. The smallest species of dolphin, the vaquita, is only four feet long and lives only in the Sea of Cortez.
7. Most dolphins sleep just below the surface of the water, surfacing frequently to breathe. They are also known to sleep with one eye open.
8. Dolphins are not only found in the oceans. There are several species of freshwater dolphins.
9. Dolphins use sonar to locate their prey, similar to bats do. Some freshwater dolphins are blind, and their only method of guiding themselves is their sonar.
10. Bottlenose dolphins are capable of creating sonic booms that exceed 230 decibels, which stuns the fish.
11. Dolphins communicate by clicking and whistling at each other. Each dolphin has a “signature whistle” that it uses to identify itself to other dolphins.
Facts About Whales for Kids
12. The largest mammal on Earth is the blue whale. The largest blue whale ever seen was 113.5 feet long and weighed approximately 170 tons.
13. The blue whale is not only the largest animal, it is also the loudest. The call of a blue whale can reach up to 188 decibels and be heard hundreds of miles away. That is almost three times as loud as a human can shout and even louder than a jet.
14. The heart of a blue whale is about the size of a Volkswagen beetle, but only beats about six times a minute. Its tongue is so large that fifty people could stand on it and it weighs more than an adult elephant.
15. Baby blue whales are about twenty to twenty-five feet long at birth and weigh between five to seven tons.
16. Narwhals, long believed to be related to the mythical unicorn, have what appears to be a long horn that protrudes from the front of its head. The horn is actually an overgrown tooth that pierces through its upper lip.
17. Sperm whales are capable of diving more than two miles down, over 10,000 feet, in search of food.
18. Sperm whales also have the largest brain in the world. Its brain is seven times larger than the average human brain. The next largest brain belongs to the orca.
19. Beluga whales are one of the few species of whale that do not have a dorsal fin. However, they do have extremely flexible necks, which enable them to turn their heads independently of their bodies.
20. The fastest whale is the fin whale. They are capable of swimming over thirty-five miles per hour as the chase after their prey.
21. A new species of whale was discovered as recently as 2002 when scientists found a long-nosed, toothless species living off the California coast. The species prefers to live deep in the ocean and feeds on squid.
Facts About Seals for Kids
22. There are two main groups of seals: ear-less or true seals, eared or walking seals. Eared seals can then be broken down into two new groups: fur seals and sea lions.
23. Although fur seals have some ability to walk on land, sea lions are capable of pulling their hind limbs forward, which enables them to use as back legs when walking on land. Seals are not capable of doing this.
24. The U.S. Navy has been training sea lions to detain scuba divers. The sea lion carries a cuff in its mouth that is attached to a long rope. The animal attaches the cuff to the person’s leg, which allows the person to be reeled in.
25. A southern elephant seal is the largest seal. Males can grow over 20 feet long and weigh up to 8,800 pounds.
26. Southern elephant seas are capable of diving 5,000 feet deep and may remain underwater for more than two hours.
Facts About Walruses for Kids
27. The scientific name for walrus, Odobenus rosmarus, is Latin for “tooth-walking sea-horse.” They got this name after they were observed using their tusks to haul themselves out of the water. Besides using its tusks to pull itself out of the water, a walrus will also use them to break breathing holes into the ice from below and as protection.
28. The tusks are actually canine teeth, and they grow continually throughout their lives. Both male and female walruses have tusks.
29. Walruses may not look that graceful on land, but they are capable of running as fast as humans can.
Facts About Sea Otters for Kids
30. The smallest marine mammal is the sea otter. When a sea otter grooms itself, it is actually forcing air bubbles down next to its skin. The bubbles act as insulation and help the otters stay afloat in the water.
Now you know why you should guard your Sponge Bob doll at the ocean and look out for sea lions if you are diving illegally. Of course, scientists are still studying the oceans. Who knows what amazing facts lay undiscovered underneath the water even after all this time