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Baby Dolphins

A baby dolphin or whale is called a calf and they are very close to its mother. The calf is very dependent on its mother. The two will spend many months together sometimes even years before the young calf can take of itself. Dolphin babies are born flukes first and sometimes come out head first. As soon as the baby is born the mother pushes it to the surface for its first breath or air. Baby dolphins dont know how to swim when there born but they learn about a half hour after there born.

Dolphin "aunties" help the mother take care of the newborn calf. When the mother is out searching for food the aunt or grandma will take over and watch the baby. Mother dolphins nurse there young till they learn how to catch and eat live fish. The mothers milk is very rich and is as thick as ice cream. Baby dolphins are about 3ft long and weigh about 25 - 50lbs at birth but its weight and lengh will quickly double in the first month. Young dolphins dont start echolocating to they get a little older. There sonar isnt developed. As soon as the dolphin is born the mother constantly whistles to her baby and the baby soon learns to identify her mothers signature whistle so when the mother calls her baby the baby comes.

Calves learn by imating there mothers. They stay right at there mothers side and turn, dive and surface right along with her. The calf learns to hunt for fish by imating its mother. When mom goes up to the surface (spyhops) to look around so does the baby. Mothers arent just teachers for there calves. They are also playmates. They teach there calves games and show them how to have fun.


Calf surfaces right next to its mother.

Calves are very playful and they sometimes get into trouble. Aunts will help take care of the calf but mothers still watch out for them very closely. When a calf disobeys its mother butts it with her head. She also protects her baby by using her flippers to hold it close to her body.

Calves follow closely at there mothers side. Some keep up by riding their mothers waves and underwater currents. The flow of water over the mothers body helps pull the calf along. Sometimes calves will even hang on to there mothers fin or flipper.


At Gulf World in Florida a baby dolphin gets a free ride next to its mother.


Close up of a baby wild dolphin surfacing with its mother.

Captive Born Dolphins


Picture taken by Brian Scott.

Many dolphins are born in captivity. Sometimes they dont survive more then a few days or sometimes the mother is unwilling or to young to take care of it. But there are some aquariums that have had alot of success and alot of births. Sea World has the worlds best captive breeding program. New pods of dolphins and killer whales have been born at there parks in Florida, California, Ohio and Texas.

When a dolphin is born in captivity the mother and baby are isolated in a separate pool so the mother can nurse her baby and teach it how to be a dolphin. When the baby is 1 year old it starts to perform in the shows with its mother. It doesnt have to learn the behaviors because the baby naturally follows and imates its mother.

Beluga whales have also been born in captivity at Sea World and other oceanariums. Sea World of Texas has the largest collection of white whales (belugas) in captivity.

New Arrival!!!

At the Sea World park in Florida a new killer whale calf was born! It was named Taima. It is unknown right now it its a male or female. To read about the new killer whale birth at Sea World of Florida check out Zoo News Network.

Dolphin Baby Pictures


Mother and baby swim together at Gulf World of Florida.


Mother and baby orca.


Mother and baby orca surface together.

More Coming Soon!!!

2002