Marine Mammals

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Sometimes called a sea cow, manatees live in the warm waters of bays, rivers, estuaries and coastal waters. They are graceful and gentle mammals that have been known to reside in the North American east coast, the Amazon River and in the rivers at the west coast of Africa.

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  • How do bottlenose dolphins reproduce?

    Q: How do bottlenose dolphins reproduce?

    A: The bottlenose dolphin reproduces through sexual copulation. The gestation period is 12 months. While twins do occur in bottlenose dolphin births, single calves are the most common. A calf remains with its mother from 18 months to 8 years following its birth.
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  • How long do harp seals live?

    Q: How long do harp seals live?

    A: Harp seals live from 25 to 30 years in the wild. They range from the North Atlantic to the Arctic and can be found in the open water and along the coastline.
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  • How do harbor seals protect themselves?

    Q: How do harbor seals protect themselves?

    A: Harbor seals defend themselves from humans and predators by relying on their sensitive hearing to alert them and allow them to vacate the area. During the breeding season, males protect their territory from rival males by engaging in stylized fighting. While strong and fast swimmers, harbor seals lack other defense mechanisms and often fall prey to killer whales, sharks and the occasional coyote or bobcat.
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  • What is the killer whale's scientific name?

    Q: What is the killer whale's scientific name?

    A: The scientific name of the killer whale is Orcinus orca. Instantly recognized by its black and white color, adult orcas commonly reach sizes of 32 feet and 6 tons or greater.
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  • How much does a killer whale weigh?

    Q: How much does a killer whale weigh?

    A: According to Encyclopædia Britannica, a male killer whale can reach a length of more than 26 feet and weigh more than five tons. Females can reach 23 feet and weigh significantly less.
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  • Do whales have hair?

    Q: Do whales have hair?

    A: Whales have hair, as all species of whales are aquatic mammals. Instead of having scales, like most other marine animals, whales have a fine layer of hair over their bodies.
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  • What are the predators of dolphins?

    Q: What are the predators of dolphins?

    A: Dolphins are close to the top of their food chain with few natural predators other than sharks. When faced by a predator, dolphins often circle, head butt or use their tails to hit the other animal in self defense. According to the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program, sharks often attack dolphins from behind or below as shown by bite scars.
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  • Why do people kill blue whales?

    Q: Why do people kill blue whales?

    A: Whalers once hunted blue whales for their blubber, which was rendered into whale oil. They also hunted whales for meat. The International Whaling Commission banned commercial hunting of blue whales in 1966. Whaling is no longer a major threat to blue whales although they are sometimes taken in illegal hunts.
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  • How do humpback whales protect themselves?

    Q: How do humpback whales protect themselves?

    A: The sheer size of a fully grown humpback whale dissuades all but the most aggressive sea predators from attacking them. In addition, whales typically swim in large groups called "pods" to protect smaller, weaker whales and youth. Mothers with calves swimming within a pod are accompanied by "escort" whales, which follow along slightly outside the pod to protect against aggression from competing humpback groups.
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  • What is the dolphin's habitat?

    Q: What is the dolphin's habitat?

    A: Dolphins live in all of the world's oceans. They are also found in several major river systems, including the Indus, the Ganges and the Amazon. No one species lives in every ocean, but every ocean has at least one dolphin species present.
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  • How long do bottlenose dolphins live?

    Q: How long do bottlenose dolphins live?

    A: Male bottlenose dolphins live an average of between 40 and 45 years, while females can live over 50 years. Females reproduce every 3 to 6 years after they reach sexual maturity between the ages of 5 and 10.
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  • Where do walruses live?

    Q: Where do walruses live?

    A: According to Marine Life at About.com, walruses are primarily located in sub-Arctic and Arctic waters in the Northern Hemisphere. The Atlantic walrus subspecies lives mainly in the water, on rocky coasts, and on ice near Greenland and northeast Canada. The Pacific subspecies calls United States and Russian waters its home. Walruses' depend heavily on sea ice, which they use for giving birth, nursing, shelter, moulting and travel.
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  • How fast can dolphins swim?

    Q: How fast can dolphins swim?

    A: The most common dolphin species, the bottlenose dolphin, has a top speed of 21.7 miles per hour. The fastest member of the dolphin family is the killer whale, which can reach speeds of more than 30 miles per hour.
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  • Why do dolphins jump out of the water?

    Q: Why do dolphins jump out of the water?

    A: Dolphins World cites five possible reasons as to why dolphins jump out of the water: to get a better view over the water, to conserve energy, to play, to get rid of parasites and to communicate with others.
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  • What type of fish do dolphins eat?

    Q: What type of fish do dolphins eat?

    A: Most dolphins feed on cod, herring and mackerel. They consume small prey, including small fish, crustaceans and small animals. Aside from fish, they also hunt various small and large squids, octopus, plankton, sea turtles, krill and cephalopods.
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  • Are whales herbivores?

    Q: Are whales herbivores?

    A: Whales are carnivores, not herbivores. Herbivores have strictly plant-based diets, while carnivores consume meat. A whale's typical diet includes octopus, fish, shrimp, krill and squid, making these mammals carnivores. A blue whale can consume 4 tons of krill daily.
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  • How do beluga whales defend themselves?

    Q: How do beluga whales defend themselves?

    A: Beluga whales defend themselves by blending in with the polar ice caps that they swim near. For example, they often swim by large white chunks of snow in the water to hide from their main predators. They also have superb hearing and distinct voices, so they can call each other for protection. They have strong skin and fins, and their eyes have a protective substance on the cornea.
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  • What are baby dolphins called?

    Q: What are baby dolphins called?

    A: Baby dolphins are called calves. Female dolphins are called cows, and males are called bulls. A mother dolphin forms a strong bond with its calf, and a dolphin calf usually stays with its mother for three to six years.
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  • Who are the predators of leopard seals?

    Q: Who are the predators of leopard seals?

    A: Leopard seals frequently grow up to 12 feet long and weigh up to 1300 pounds, with only one predator to fear: killer whales. There are anecdotal accounts of sharks hunting leopard seals, but there are no records of this happening on a regular basis.
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  • What does the inside of a whale look like?

    Q: What does the inside of a whale look like?

    A: Whales are not fish, but mammals, and the inside of a whale looks similar to that of a land mammal. They have skeletons with long backbones, circulatory systems similar to warm-blooded animals, large hearts and lungs, large teeth and inner ears that are adapted to hear underwater. To provide buoyancy, store energy and insulate them against cold temperatures, whales have a layer of blubber under their skin.
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  • How many types of dolphins are there?

    Q: How many types of dolphins are there?

    A: There are 42 species of dolphins in the world. There are 38 species of marine dolphins and four species of river dolphins. The normal habitat for dolphins is saltwater, but some do live in freshwater. Dolphins are generally found in the shallow coastal waters of warm locations.
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