Your Guide To Dolphins In Belize
Incredibly sensitive and intuitive animals, dolphins are some of the most beloved sea creatures to both divers and non-divers alike. If you’ve ever dreamed of swimming with the dolphins in their natural habitat Belize should definitely be on your to-do list. With four main species of dolphins in Belizean waters and a whole underwater world to see, here’s your guide to the dolphins in Belize.
Bottlenose dolphins are the most commonly seen dolphins you encounter on your dives. They’re easy to recognize as they are dark grey, have a short rostrum (nose), are between 10-13 ft/ 3-4 meters in length, and grow up to 450 lbs/204 kgs. Bottlenose dolphins are extremely intelligent and expressive, using squeaks, squawks, dancing, slapping their tales, and even making bubbles to communicate. Each bottlenose dolphin has a unique whistling sound to identify themselves as humans do with names, allowing them to be master communicators.
Rough-tooth dolphins are one of the more rare species that reside in the depths of the Caribbean ocean. The rough-tooth dolphin has many sharp and jagged teeth (hence its name) and is smaller and thinner than its Bottlenose cousin at 8.5ft / 2.6 meters and 350 lbs/160kgs. They are very social creatures and often travel in pods of eight to twenty other dolphins preying on fish and squids. Although they enjoy the depths of the sea, they can be spotted sticking their snouts out of the water as they swim along the top of the sea.
Atlantic Spotted Dolphin
Atlantic spotted dolphins are easily recognizable by their spotted skin, giving the dolphin an almost sparkly and decorated appearance. They often feed on small sea creatures such as crabs, lobster, squids, and octopuses, and although they prefer to stay close to the shoreline, they’re also known to dive, often holding their breath underwater for up to ten minutes. The average lifespan of an Atlantic spotted dolphin is between ten and twenty years, and they can become quite large, with males growing over 7 ft/2 m in length and 250+ lbs/114+ kgs. They are very fast swimmers and will often “surf” in the waves created by our dive vessels.
Spinner dolphins look very similar to bottlenose dolphins, but it’s undeniable how they got their name when you witness their acrobatic behaviour. Spinner dolphins can leap from the water and spin their bodies in the air up to seven rotations before they hit the water again. These dolphins are a delight to see leaping in Belizean waters. They do this for several reasons, including releasing themselves from parasites, impressing potential mates, showing dominance, and sometimes doing it just for fun. They can live up to twenty years, smaller compared to other species reaching at 7 ft/2m, averaging 181 lbs/82 kgs and they’re great creatures to keep your eye out for while diving in Belize.
Come swim with the dolphins in Belize!
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Just 30 miles from Belize City, Belize Dive Haven is located in pristine Turneffe Atoll. Consisting of creeks, lagoons, mangrove islands and cays, the atoll is home to over 500 species of fish, 65 different species of stony corals as well as birds, turtles, manatees and dolphins.