Bottlenose Dolphin

The Common Bottlenose Dolphin is one of the most frequent marine mammals that can be spotted in the waters of St. Maarten/Martin. A large species of dolphins the bottlenose can reach up to 4 meters/ 13 feet long. While sightings can happen year round, they are rare and primarily happen in the late spring and early summer.

Small pod of bottlenose dolphins just outside of Simpson Bay. Still capture from video by Ray-Angle Boasman.

Intelligence and Communication

One of the most intelligent species in the animal kingdom dolphins have been recorded showing many human traits and characteristics including empathy, problem solving, teaching skills and grief. In addition, their limbic system, the part of the brain that process emotions, appears to be more complex than that of humans! One reason for these creatures to have evolved such a large and complex brain is due to the complex social nature of their family groups.

Dolphins live in groups called pods with their families and social groups for most of their lives. In fact, it is so rare to see them living solitary lives that those spotted traveling on their own are called ‘lone-rangers’ and are highly researched and recorded. Within their pods dolphins communicate using whistles and even have signature whistles to represent themselves (like having names).

Fun Facts

  • Bottlenose dolphins can swim up to 100 kilometers/ 60 miles per day.
  • Can swim up to 20 miles per hour when hunting or traveling.
  • Bottlenose dolphins get their name from their elongated snout that resembles a bottle.
  • Females give birth to their calves only once every two to three years.
  • Calves nurse from their mothers for a year and a half and stay with them until they are 5 years old. The entire pod helps raise the young calf who then often remains with the pod for the rest of their lives.
One big and one small dolphin just jumping up. Both grey coloured.
Educational Resources