In the warm waters near the shore, a small herd of bottlenose dolphins plays among the waves. Two leap together high into the air, then they arc and dive in. Two other dolphins ride the surf on an incoming wave.
The dolphins move their tail fins up and down to gain speed. They use their flippers to make sharp turns and quick stops.
Dolphins can swim as fast as 23 miles per hour, and they can jump ten feet into the air.
A small group of dolphins hunting for fish comes up and "blows" together. The dolphin in the front is Mother Dolphin. She must go to the surface to breathe through her blowhole.
Dolphins are mammals which means they breathe air out of blowholes on the tops of their heads. They return to the surface for air about four times each minute.
Dolphins find fish by making clicking sounds and listening to the echoes that bounce back. The dolphins can talk to each other by whistling and calling.
Mother Dolphin and two other adult dolphins find a school of small fish in the shallow water of a bay. The dolphins rush at the fish. The fish are swept up in the wave and pushed ahead of the speeding dolphins. They land on the sandy shore. The three dolphins snap up the fish and slide back into the water.
Dolphins may look like fish, too, but they are really warm-blooded mammals. They breathe air from the surface, give birth to live young, and nurse their young with milk.
Soon Mother Dolphin will be ready to give birth to her baby. She has help from two dolphin "aunties," who stay next to her. Other dolphins from the herd gather around them and whistle softly.
As soon as Baby Dolphin is born, the two helpers guide her to the surface of the water for her very first breath. After she breathes, Baby Dolphin can float.
Dolphins have their own underwater language of sounds, clicks, and whistles. They use these sounds to communicate with each other and the environment.
Mother Dolphin nurses her hungry Baby Dolphin near the surface of the calm ocean water. Mother Dolphin floats on her side and squirts her extra-rich milk into her baby's waiting mouth.
Baby Dolphin floats near the surface so she can breathe while she is fed. The "aunties" stay nearby and encourage the mother and baby with soft sounds.
Mother Dolphin will nurse Baby Dolphin for a long time. As Baby Dolphin gets older, she will eat fish, shrimp, and squid.
To find out what happens next in "Baby Dolphin," go to the next page.