Animals / Mammal Facts / Cetacea - Marine Mammals / Pink Amazon River Dolphin

Pink Amazon River Dolphin

amazon river dolphin say hello


The pink or Amazon river dolphin is a rare species of aquatic mammal, obviously characterized by its pink skin. They are between 8.25 ft (2.5 m) and 9.75 ft (3 m) long and usually weigh around 200 lbs (90 kg). They have long beaks and tiny eyes. Vision is limited in the muddy waters of the rivers and they probably rely more on echolocation (sonar) than their vision. Instead of a dorsal fin, this species has more of a simple ridge on their backs. As with many species the male is usually larger than the female.



amazon river dolphin leaping


The pink river dolphin is usually found in the tributaries and main river flow of the Orinoco and the Amazon in South America. The reason for the characteristically pink skin is not thoroughly understood. Some scientists believe that the presence of capillaries near to their skin gives them the pinkish tone that they’re known for. Other factors which could contribute to the skin color include the animal’s age, temperature of the water and even the chemical make-up of the water especially in relation to the iron levels. Individuals have varying shades of color, with some being mostly light gray, and some mottled with gray and pink patches or spots.


amazon river dolphin underwater eating


The pink river dolphins’ diet consists mainly of crustaceans, catfish and small fish. They have a unique characteristic in the shape of their unfused vertebrae in their neck which allows them to turn their heads 180 degrees. This characteristic gives them greater flexibility when looking for food and swimming in shallow waters.


mottled river dophin


Dolphins are well known for their intelligence but the intelligence level of the pink river dolphin is not well known. Physically, the ratio of brain mass to body weight compares in such a way which would suggest that they’re very similar to the bottlenose dolphin, which is known for its intelligence. This species is especially known for its almost friendly, curious nature and the dolphins are able to quickly learn to associate man with fun, danger or other traits.


river dolphin splashing


Calves are born between June and July usually. When born they’re approximately 30 inches (75 cm) long and weigh just over 22 lbs (1 kg). The gestation period prior to their both is somewhere between nine and twelve months although we don’t have an exact figure. The dolphins sexual maturity is determined by size rather than age, when females are around 5.5 ft (1.7 m) long and the males are around 7 ft (2 m) long they are said to be sexually mature.




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