Nothing is more thrilling than watching a dolphin leap out of the water.
Dolphins are playful and curious creatures. They are well-known for their amazing feats of acrobatics in their natural environment and ability to leap out of water.
Although it is still unknown why dolphins leap out of the water, there are many theories about why these fantastic sea creatures enjoy looking up at the sky above the water. No matter the reason, dolphins jumping is an amazing sight to behold.
How Dolphins Jump Out of the Water
You can sometimes witness a dolphin jumping out of water and wonder how they do this. Dolphins leap out and propel themselves upward, using their tail flukes to push against the water at high speed.
They reach the speed they need by beating their tail against the water and swimming up from a distance. This behavior is called breaching.
Jumping dolphins only move almost vertically to save their energy. They use their pectoral flippers to steer and move around while their bodies remain underwater.
One common question is how high can dolphins jump. You probably know the answer if you have ever seen Animal Planet or National Geographic Channel– pretty high! Dolphins can fly over 25 feet in the air, even sometimes making twirling leaps and turny somersaults acrobatics.
Why Dolphins Jump Out of the Water
Dolphins leap out of the water for many reasons. While we don’t know all there is about dolphin behavior, it is possible to try to decipher the details by reviewing all facts. Here are some reasons why dolphins jump out of water:
1. Get a Better View of the Surrounding
Dolphins jump out of the water to get a bird’s-eye view, useful for hunting prey or identifying potential threats. The behavior of a dolphin leaping out of the water to avoid predators is called “spy-hopping.” Dolphins spy-hopping appear to be looking out over the water, with their heads buried in the surface.
2. Signal Their Location to Other Dolphins
Another reason you often find a dolphin jumping out of water is that it uses the coastline’s shape for navigation, significantly when searching for other pod members. They might jump out of the water to let other dolphins know where they are and avoid being separated.
Jumping dolphins have often been seen hunting and traveling in groups. If one is lost, the other dolphins will make a signal by jumping to indicate their location. This behavior is called “beach casting.”
3. Communicate With Other Dolphins
Dolphins are intelligent aquatic creatures. They communicate with one another by many means. Besides a series of whistles and chirps, breaching is also a way dolphins communicate at long-distance, essential for hunting or courting purposes.
Researchers also believe dolphins flipping and leaping out of water demonstrate leadership and dominance. The alpha dolphin of one group can communicate with another by jumping through the air.
4. Clean Themselves Off Parasites
Dolphins are warm-blooded mammals. They can attract more parasites than other fishes, including invisible and visible ones.
Some external parasites can cause injury. One study also suggests that remoras, aquatic creatures equipped with suction cups capable of attaching to large marine animals, can also attach to dolphins, causing greater resistance when swimming.
Researchers believe that the dolphins’ breaching and falling into the water with a violent splash removes them from these nuisances. A dolphin jumping out of water uses air to clean their bodies. As parasites attached to their body cannot tolerate sudden changes, they can be dislodged by jumping into the air.
5. Conserve Enough Energy to Swim
You can sometimes observe dolphins jumping out of the water after a long hunt or when they are unable to reach food at the surface. They break into the water’s surface to release stored energy and then sink back down for rest.
Some scientists believe that dolphins jump out of the water to conserve energy while swimming and traveling long distances at incredible speeds. As air is 784 times denser than water, dolphins leap into the air to avoid resistance from the water current and move faster than just swimming constantly.
6. Breathe in Oxygen
Dolphins can’t breathe the same way as humans, even though they aren’t fish. Because dolphins live in saltwater and freshwater environments, they can’t breathe voluntarily like land mammals and must never forget that they require air.
They do this by breaking the water’s surface and lifting their blowhole above to breathe, similar to humans taking a deep breath when they are up for air. By swimming faster and jumping, dolphins can also breathe in more air efficiently.
7. Cool Off From the Heat
Dolphins, as mammals, are warm-blooded. The dolphin’s metabolism generates a lot of heat. They have to keep a constant body temperature of 96.8-98.6 degrees F is required, which is almost the same as humans. Dolphins also breathe less often than other land mammals, so less heat is lost when exhaling into their environment.
A dolphin jumping out of water regulates the high temperature of their body like humans splashing cold water on their faces during the summer heat. They release heat through their blowholes by jumping into the air and the water. This form of breaching allows calmer waters to circulate around their bodies.
8. Have More Fun in the Waters
Dolphins are intelligent and playful mammals that love to jump and have fun. They can jump high and reach speeds due to their streamlined bodies.
They love to amuse people by performing tricks like flipping, jumping, balancing, and leaping. Being playful creatures, as we all know, you can often see dolphins flipping and enjoying themselves by swimming on the waves and with boats.
We are constantly amazed by dolphins’ intelligence, communication skills, and playful behavior. But little did we know that dolphins also smile because of their joy from jumping.
Witness Dolphins Jump on the Waves
Sunshine Scenic Tours takes you on a dolphin cruise in Madeira Beach. Make memories that will last a lifetime as you voyage the vast blue ocean and explore the waters alongside friendly marine animals.
You can also have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be closed up and have fun with the spectacular dolphins jumping and playing with the waves. For inquiries, reach us out