Facts about pink river dolphin

25 pink river dolphin facts

Amazon river dolphin

The Amazon river dolphin is also known as boto, bufeo, but the most commonly used name is the pink river dolphin. It is the largest river dolphin in the world and displays some unusual characteristics for the dolphin species.

Pink river dolphin
It belongs to the family Iniidae.
It is the main attraction of the Amazon River, despite not being the only dolphin species available in the Amazon.
There are three subspecies in the family: the Amazon river dolphin, the Bolivian river dolphin (found in the Madeira River), and the Orinoco river dolphin (found in the Orinoco basin).
There is also a debate about whether the Araguaian river dolphin (found in the Tocantins basin) should be considered as the fourth subspecies. Some scientists deliberate whether all the above subspecies should rather not be considered separate species.
They are sexually dimorphic.
Males are approximately 16% larger and 55% heavier than females. Their pink hue is also more vibrant.
The Amazon river dolphin acquires its pink hue with age.
It is gray when born.
There are several hypotheses on why the Amazon river dolphins are pink.
One states their pink hue developed as a result of constant fighting with each other since their scar tissue is pink. Another theory states their blood veins are beneath their skin, and thus the color. Another hypothesis focuses on the fact that the pink hue allows them to camouflage against the red mud.
It is the largest of the river dolphin species.
A full-grown dolphin measures up to 2,7 meters long and weighs approximately 180 kg.
Their brain capacity is 40% larger than that of humans.
They are the smartest of river dolphin species.
It has a long, pointed beak, which aids in hunting in narrow spaces.
Botos have two types of teeth.
Front teeth are pointed, while the ones at the back are meant to crush their prey.
Unlike other dolphins, they do not have a dorsal fin, but a long dorsal ridge.
They live for up to 30 years in captivity.
Their average lifespan in the wild, however, is still unknown.
They mate from November to late October.
A female pink river dolphin gives birth to one young after eight or nine months of gestation.
Having more than one offspring at a time hardly happens.
Young stay with females for up to two years, until it matures fully.
It is mostly solitary but can be seen in groups of up to four individuals.
Their diet consists of 53 different species of prey.
They feed on catfish, small river fish, crabs, shellfish, crustaceans, snakes, and small turtles.
They do not have natural predators, except for humans.
However, they can occasionally fall prey to anacondas, caimans, and jaguars.
Botos can rotate their head 180 degrees.
It is due to unfused vertebrae in their necks.
They are not very acrobatic, contrary to other dolphins.
They would rather emerge their snout above the water's surface than jump out as dolphins do.
Their paddle-like flippers allow them to swim in circles.
Although solitary, they seek human attention.
They are friendly toward humans and are said to push them back ashore when they go too far in the river.
Like all dolphins, the pink river dolphin sleeps with one eye open.
When the left half of the brain sleeps, the right eye will be closed, and vice versa.
They are known for blushing.
When spooked or excited, the boto will flush pinker.
They are listed as Endangered by the IUCN Red List.
They tend to get killed by fishermen to reduce the competition for catfish. They also face habitat loss because of the construction of dams on the river. Since their reproduction rate is slow and gestation usually ends with the birth of one young, they are unable to replenish their numbers quickly.
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