Common Bottlenose Dolphin
Common Bottlenose Dolphin
Oceans
ABout Common Bottlenose Dolphin

DOLPHINS HAVE LONG, SLEEK, BLUE-GRAY BODIES WITH A DORSAL FIN ATOP THEIR BACK, PECTORAL FINS AT THEIR SIDES AND TWO FLUKES AT THE END OF THE PEDUNCLE THAT MAKE UP THEIR PADDLE-SHAPED “TAIL.” THEY ALSO HAVE A BEAK, CALLED A ROSTRUM, PROTRUDING FROM THE FACE WITH BLOWHOLE AT THE TOP OF THE HEAD.

Groups of dolphins are called pods, and communicate using sound. A dolphin produces all of its sounds from its blowhole, not its mouth. Because they are air breathers living in the water, sleeping can pose a challenge. We are not sure how they sleep but we know they take small cat naps because they are conscious breathers.

 

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FACTS & STATISTICS
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Average Size
7 to 9 feet,
350-600 pounds
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Native Region
Tropical oceans and warm waters across the world
Asset 7
Eating Habit
Fish and squid
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Conservation Status
Least Concern
Distinguishing Characteristics

Calypso is the youngest dolphin at the Zoo. She has grown quickly and is no longer the smallest dolphin in the pod!

Fun Facts

Calypso is the daughter of Kalei and Kimo, and the granddaughter of Nova. She is very spunky and curious. She is a confident dolphin and ventures out on her own as well has loving to hang out with mom, Kalei.

Distinguishing Characteristics

Large tail flukes with jagged lagging edge; light coloration; long and slender; underbite; scars on peduncle (powerful muscle between dorsal fin and flukes) that look like Chinese writing (her namesake)

Fun Facts

China is headstrong and enjoys high-energy behaviors like jumping and splashing. She is the mother of Indy and Orin, and she spends lots of time keeping her eye on Orin as he learns about life in the pod.

Distinguishing Characteristics

Curved "C-shaped" dorsal fin; large tail flukes with a chunk missing on her right side; light coloration; long and slender; underbite that matches her mother, China

Fun Facts

Indy is very athletic and vocal. She is also coy and impulsive. A little mischievous, Indy is known to splash water at marine mammal staff or guests to get their attention. Indy is the daughter of China and Sundance and is half-sister to Jett and Orin.

Distinguishing Characteristics

Scar behind his blowhole; white scar at the base of the leading edge of his large dorsal fin; Jett has rippled markings on the sides of his body.

Fun Facts

Jett is a typical teenage boy who acts a little crazy sometimes. He is an athletic dolphin and loves to play with balls. He is eager to learn new behaviors from marine mammal staff and fellow dolphin. Jett is always charged up and wants to be everywhere at one time. He has also formed a bond with Kimo and the two spend lots of time together.

Distinguishing Characteristics

Dark coloration; short body; petite features (including tail flukes); scar of the left side of her rostrum; black spot on the front of her rostrum; indentation on leading edge of her dorsal fin

Fun Facts

Kalei is the daughter of Nova and Sundance, the half-sister to Indy and Jett, and the mother to Calypso. She enjoys playing with balls, eating ice and being pampered. She is frequently seen playing with her tongue hanging out of her mouth. Kalei likes spending time with people so much that she will seek out marine mammal staff for attention when the other dolphins are relaxing or playing with each other.

Distinguishing Characteristics

Large in size (around 500 pounds); blunt rostrum with yellow/orange-ish color on the end; rounded/curved dorsal fin

Fun Facts

Large and athletic, Kimo is the oldest male dolphin in our pod. Although he is more laid back in his relationships with other dolphins, he is motivated to do energetic behaviors when working with marine mammal staff. He is the father of Calypso.

Distinguishing Characteristics

Dark in color; scar above right eye; scar on the right side of her stomach; grey speckled belly; petite features (such as her tail flukes)

Fun Facts

Nova is the matriarch of the pod, which means she is the most dominant. She is laid-back and patient with both dolphins and humans. She is food motivated and loves back and belly rubs during one-on-one time with her favorite people. She is the mother of Kalei.

Distinguishing Characteristics

Second smallest in the pod; crescent shaped dorsal fin

Fun Facts

Orin is curious and loves to eat ice. He is so enthusiastic about learning new things that he follows other dolphins around and copies their behaviors! He enjoys playing with Taz. Orin is the son of China and Jett and is half-brother to Indy. He was named after the Atlantean alter ego of DC Comics hero Aquaman.

Distinguishing Characteristics

Slender shape; yellowish sides and bottom on rostrum

Fun Facts

Taz is independent and laid back. He was rescued off the coast of Florida in 2011 when he was an infant. He is very curious about the other dolphins and trainers, and he is best buds with Orin. He makes himself easy to find by whistling a lot.

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Visit the dolphins at the zoo!

Look no further. Connect with our amazing animals and learn about the wild places they come from.

Where are they at the Zoo?
The dolphins are located in the St. Vincent Dolphin Pavilion.
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Additional Experiences
Dolphin Presentation

Our free Dolphin Presentations feature engaging demonstrations by our incredible Atlantic bottlenose dolphins!

Not only will you be enthralled by these powerful and intelligent marine mammals, you’ll learn more about the incredible bond they share with Zoo staff. Presentations are included with regular Zoo admission, but seating is limited and tickets are required. Pick up your tickets when you enter the Zoo. Pavilion doors open 30 minutes prior to each presentations and close 5 minutes before the presentation. Seating is first-come, first-served.

Current Presentation Times: 10:30am & 2pm Wednesday-Sunday*

Please Note: Doors close 5 minutes prior to the presentation.

Strollers must be parked outside the St. Vincent Dolphin Pavilion in the designated area.

Guests with concerns about the security of strollers can consider renting a stroller

ADDITIONAL EXPERIENCES
Animal Art Adventure

Not only are dolphins amongst the world’s most intelligent animals, they are fantastic painters as well! A Dolphin Art Adventure takes participants behind the scenes where you will meet a dolphin up close and learn about some of the things that make this dolphin unique in our pod. The fantastic artwork the dolphin creates will be yours to take home!

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ADDITIONAL EXPERIENCES
Conservation Efforts for Bottlenose Dolphins

What Can You Do?

Everyone has the power to help save wild things and wild places. That power is your individual voice, your awareness and your actions. So in addition to visiting the Zoo and meeting our animal ambassadors, here are a few simple suggestions that will help save their counterparts in the wild.

  • Plant a tree together! It s roots help keep water and soil in place.
  • Start a compost pile. Feeding your lawn or garden with compost instead of fertilizer means fewer chemicals are introduced into the environment.
  • Plant a rain garden together using native plants. Putting plants in a wet area of your yard keeps soil from eroding, and native plants don’t need fertilizer to grow big and strong.
Animal Amigo
Sponsor a Dolphin

The Animal Amigo program helps care for all of the animals at the Zoo by funding food, medical treatment, equipment, enrichment toys, and habitat improvement for the animals in our care. For a donation of $100 or more, you can sponsor a dolphin at the Indianapolis Zoo. You will receive a plush, collector card, certificate and recognition on the Animal Amigo donor board!

Learn More
Visit the dolphins at the zoo!

Look no further. Connect with our amazing animals and learn about the wild places they come from.

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