NATIONAL DOLPHIN DAY
Each year on April 14th, National Dolphin Day recognizes the social and intelligent mammals of the water.
Dolphins are cetacean mammals that are related to whales and porpoises. They range in size from 4 feet to up to 30 feet; dolphins are among almost forty species in 17 genera. Found worldwide, they prefer the shallower seas of the continental shelves.
As carnivores, their diet consists of mostly fish and squid.
- Male dolphin – bull
- Female dolphin – cow
- Young dolphin – calf
- Group of dolphins – school or pod
Social, Swift, and Intelligent
Dolphins are known to have acute eyesight both in and out of the water. They also have a well-developed sense of touch, with free nerve endings densely packed in the skin. Since they additionally have such acute hearing, they can hear frequencies ten times or more above the upper limit of what adult humans can. Dolphins are also capable of making a broad range of sounds using nasal air sacs located just below the blowhole.
Living in pods of up to a dozen dolphins, they are highly social animals. Pods do merge in areas where there is an abundance of food, forming superpods. These pods may exceed 1,000 dolphins. Dolphins can, and do, establish strong bonds within their pods. Even when one is injured or ill, they will stay, helping them to breathe by bringing them to the surface if needed.
You will see the dolphins frequently leaping above the water’s surface. They do this for various reasons; when traveling, jumping saves them energy as there is less friction while in the air. Their leaps even have a name called porpoising. Some other explanations for leaping include orientation, social display, fighting, non-verbal communication, entertainment, and attempting to dislodge parasites.
The United States National Marine Mammal Foundation conducted a study revealing that dolphins, like humans, develop a natural form of type 2 diabetes. This discovery may lead to a better understanding of the disease and new treatments for both humans and dolphins.
HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalDolphinDay
- Learn more about dolphins, their habitats, and how they live.
- Watch a documentary about dolphins.
- Share your knowledge about dolphins with others, too!
- Download and print the Dolphin Day coloring page.
- Use #NationalDolphinDay to post on social media.
NATIONAL DOLPHIN DAY HISTORY
National Dolphin Day is listed as part of the American Veterinary Medical Association Pet Health Awareness Events.
Q. Do dolphins talk?
A. No, but they do communicate. While they don’t use words like humans do, they do use a variety of sounds using clicks and whistles. The clicks are a part of a dolphin’s echolocation system and help them navigate. When they whistle, they are communicating with other dolphins.
Q. How many dolphin species are there?
A. According to the World Wildlife Federation, 36 species of dolphins populate the world’s waterways.
Q. Do dolphins live in fresh or saltwater?
A. Dolphins live in both fresh and saltwater.
April 14th Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) History
American Noah Webster publishes An American Dictionary of the English Language. It took twenty-seven years to complete and was the first dictionary of the American English language. To evaluate the etymology of words, Webster learned twenty-six languages, including Old English (Anglo-Saxon), German, Greek, Latin, Italian, Spanish, French, Hebrew, Arabic, and Sanskrit.
John Wilkes Booth assassinates President Abraham Lincoln. After shooting Lincoln in the head at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C., Booth shouted “Sic semper tyrannis! (Ever thus to tyrants! The South is avenged,” and jumped from the President’s box seat to the stage, breaking his leg and fleeing the theatre.
JC Penny opens his first department store in Kemmerer, Wyoming.
Berry Gordy Jr. incorporates Motown Records Corporation.
April 14th Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) Birthdays
Juan Belmonte Garcia – 1892
The Spanish bullfighter gained a reputation as one of the greatest toreros in the early 20th century. A disability cause Belmonte to change the art of bullfighting. His legs were weak and deformed from birth, so instead of dancing and jumping away from the bull, Belmonte stood straight and motionless, drawing the bull closer. The bullfighter’s elegant use of his cape diverted the bulls away from him.
Anne Sullivan – 1899
Partial blindness at a young age led Anne Sullivan to the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, Massachusetts. Following her graduation, the valedictorian came to work for the Keller family as governess and teacher for their daughter Helen. With Sullivan’s support, Helen learned to fingerspell, speak, and eventually attended school and college. Together they became lifelong companions and advocates for the blind and those with disabilities.
Loretta Lynn – 1932
The Coal Miner’s Daughter, Loretta Lynn, found her legendary voice as a Grammy-winning singer-songwriter from Bucher Hollow, Kentucky. She was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 1960 and her critical acclaim would follow her for decades to come. Lynn continued making music well into the 21st century. Her last album was recorded in 2016, titled Full Circle.
Pete Rose – 1941
Pete Rose played 23 years in Major League Baseball primarily for the Cincinnati Reds. He also played for the Philadelphia Phillies and the Montreal Expos before returning to the Reds and then continuing his career as a manager. Versatile throughout his career, Rose played infield and outfield and earned 17 calls to the All-Star roster. He also brought home three World Series championships and numerous other awards.
In 1989, allegations of Rose betting on baseball broke and started his permanent exit from baseball.