Why Are Dolphins Considered Mammals?

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Dolphins are mammals because they breathe air, they bear live young, and baby dolphins drink milk and have hair. Find out why dolphins are not fish because they do not have gills with information from a dolphin behavioral husbandry and rehabilitation coordinator in this free video on dolphins.

Part of the Video Series: Dolphin Facts
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Petra Cunningham-Smith with Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium in Sarasota, Florida. Today we're going to talk about why dolphins are considered mammals. Dolphins are not fish, they're mammals. So they don't have gills. Dolphins have lungs and they breathe air just like people, horses, dogs and cats. Dolphins breathe through a hole in the top of their head that's called a blow-hole. And this is a direct passage from the outside to their lungs. When a dolphin surfaces after being underwater, it opens the blow-hole and takes in air. Dolphins bear live young, usually one at a time, right directly into the water. And these dolphins drink milk from a mammary gland that's located on the underside of the mother. Baby dolphins even have a little bit of hair. When dolphins are born they have hair follicles on their rostrums, on the front of their face, just like other mammals have hair. And this is why dolphins are considered mammals. I'm Petra Cunningham-Smith from Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida.

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