Porpoise Facts

Porpoise Facts
Porpoise is a type of aquatic mammal that belongs to the order Cetacea. Their closest relatives are dolphins and whales. There are 6 species of porpoise that can be found in the Indian, Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Porpoises can dive to the depth of 650 feet but they spend majority of time close to the surface of the water. They can be often seen in the bays and estuaries. Increased boat traffic induces pollution of the water and disturbs normal communication between porpoises. Other factors which negatively affect number of porpoises in the wild are by-catch (animals end up trapped in the fishing nets by accident) and hunt because of their meat. Certain species of porpoises (such as vaquita) are listed as critically endangered.
Interesting Porpoise Facts:
Porpoises are the smallest type of cetaceans. Most species are 5 to 8 feet long and weigh between 100 and 200 pounds.
Dorsal side of most species of porpoises is grey or brown. Belly is white in color.
Porpoise has rounded body and blunt jaw. Dorsal fin is triangular in shape. Some species have small bumps instead of dorsal fin.
Porpoises have 60 to 120 teeth that are short and shaped like spade.
Porpoises have shorter and more rounded body compared to dolphins. They have triangular instead of curved dorsal fin and blunt jaw instead of beak-like jaw. Unlike dolphins, porpoises are quite shy creatures which avoid people. They do not perform acrobatics in the water.
Porpoises are intelligent creatures that can learn many tricks when they are kept in captivity.
Porpoises can swim at the speed of 34 miles per hour.
Porpoises use echo-location to avoid collision with underwater objects and to find food. They produce high-pitched clicks which travel through the water and bounce off the objects (including their prey) located in front of them. Returning sound carries information about the size, type and speed of the surrounding objects.
Porpoises are carnivores (meat-eaters). Their diet consists of fish, squids and crustaceans. Since they do not have big fat reserves in the body, they need to eat often.
Main predators of porpoises are sharks and killer whales.
Porpoises produce low frequency sounds that are used for communication.
Porpoises live in groups (called pods) that consist of 2 to 20 members (usually just 4).
Mating season takes place during the summer. Females mate every year or once every two or three years, depending on the species.
Pregnancy in females lasts 10 to 11 months and ends with one baby. Young porpoise stays with its mother several years. Porpoises reach sexual maturity at the age of 3 to 5 years.
Compared to other cetaceans, porpoises have short lifespan. They usually live less than 10 years. Some species can survive up to 20 years.

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