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Wisdom Wednesday | Jumping Dolphins

Shore Buddies Wisdom Wednesday 12/23/2020

Image of a dolphin jumping by Instagram, user Jill @jillma2sh21

Dolphins are warm-blooded, marine mammals that can be found worldwide in oceans and also in shallow waters. Dolphins belong to the cetacean group, which includes humpback whales. Humpback whales can leap out of the water, a trait that dolphins can also do. A dolphin often jumps out of the water, and this behavior may be called breaching, much like a humpback whale would. Dolphins jump out of the water, and for them to be able to do this, they need to be swimming at a swift pace. They push themselves and up through the surface of the water at high velocity. Dolphins get to the speed they require by swimming down below the surface and then swimming upwards from a distance.  After reaching the surface, they can break through, leaping through the air. Dolphins are mammals, and they breathe with their lungs as we do. Dolphins do not have gills like fish. Dolphins need to breathe oxygen from the air but also remain in the water. Jumping out of the water, allows the dolphin to remain wet, while also taking in oxygen. Dolphins jump out of the water for fun, to increase visibility, to remove parasites, and to improve navigation.

Navigation Dolphins jump out of water because so that they can use the shape of the coastline for navigation. They can also look for nearby feeding birds indicating where to find fish. Dolphins also jump out of the water to look for the position of other members of the pod, and other creatures in the sea. 

Parasites Some dolphins may feel irritated by parasites. By jumping out of the water, they may be able to get rid of these parasites. Dolphins can jump through the surface, effectively scratching their bodies against the surface of the water.

Communication Another reason that they jump is a sign of non-verbal communication. Dolphins can communicate for hunting purposes over long distances. Dolphins usually communicate through a series of whistles and chirps. Jumping may be a way of non-verbal communication to warn against the presence of specific predators like killer whales or large sharks.