Family Units

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OK, let's see if you were listening, while you were on your cruise. Birds gather in flocks, cattle in herds, lions in prides... What about dolphin? Do you remember? What do we call a group of dolphin?

"Pods", you say? Right... Congratulations, you were listening! How big are the pods? Well, in the river they range from just two dolphin to around 15 per pod. Most pods are around 4 to 6 in size. But out in the ocean, dolphin gather in pods of hundreds. Some observers have counted as many as one thousand dolphin living together in one pod. How does that compare to the number of kids in your school?

When a dolphin is born, it is only a couple of feet long, and has to be helped up to the surface for its first breath of air. But from that tiny beginning, some will grow as large as 8 (even up to 12) feet in length and weigh up to 800 pounds. It seems that at some point in the life of a juvenile, it will make the decision to either live in the rivers or out in the ocean and once it does, it won't come back. Where would you rather live? In the river, or in the ocean? Why? If you were a dolphin, what factors would be important for you to consider when you made that decision?

What do you think are some of the advantages in living in either a large pod or a small pod? Especially when it comes to feeding? Would a large pod or a small pod have a better chance of spotting and capturing food? What might happen if a large pod came into a small river, like the Bull river? They might eat all the food, right. Then what? So it makes sense that lots of dolphin working together in the ocean have a better chance of finding food, but too many in a river would quickly exhaust the supply.

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