Dolphin Awareness Month

Tampa Bay has many wonderful features. One of our personal favorites is our unofficial mascot, the dolphin. Most of you have likely been charmed by the sight of these playful and intelligent marine animals, who are known for being chatty and friendly. Given that March is Dolphin Awareness Month, it seems only right to give the dolphin his turn in the spotlight. A Tampa, FL vet discusses these amazing creatures below.

Fun Facts

Dolphins are the smartest marine animal. In fact, they are incredibly intelligent, and have shown the capacity to solve puzzles and even speak, in their own manner. Some scientists believe they are the most intelligent beings on the planet, aside from us. They’ve certainly been around for a while: the oldest dolphin fossils date back to the Miocene Epoch, about 16 to 24 million years ago. Dolphins are known to enjoy blowing bubbles, and even have their own names. They’re also really cute!


Dolphins definitely need some PR. The Society of Marine Mammalogy officially recognizes 41 different kinds of dolphins. Out of these, nine are endangered and one is likely already extinct. Although most dolphins live in the ocean, five dolphin species are freshwater. All five, sadly, are endangered. One sad note here is the story of the Chinese river dolphin, or baiji, which has recently gone extinct after thriving in the Yangtze River for 20 million years.


Dolphins are threatened by many different things. Unfortunately, their cheerful and friendly nature put them at risk of being injured by propellers. They’re also often hunted or trapped in fishing nets. Other ongoing dangers include collisions with ships, climate change, noise pollution, habitat loss, and oceanic pollution, whether from oil and gas or other sources.

How To Help

Not all the news is bad. Dolphins have a much bigger cheering squad than ever before. Many wonderful people and organizations are working to protect these cheerful, adorable animals. You can often spot dolphins around Tampa Bay, as well as in many other places along the Florida coast. The Keys—particularly Key Largo—are also great viewing spots. If you enjoy both dolphin watching and taking photos, you may be able to take part in FAU Harbor Branch’s Dolphin Spotter citizen science project. You can learn more about the project here.


Do you have questions about your pet’s health or care? Contact us, your Tampa, FL animal clinic! 

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