Frequently Asked Question
Dec 15, 2018
What about the dolphins?
Ah yes, the famous dolphins of Monkey Mia. For the past 30 years wild dolphins have been coming to the beach to take fish right out of people's hands. Today, for the well-being of both dolphins and humans, D.E.C. (Department of Environment and Conservation) officers manage the interaction, providing fish for the dolphins and allowing visitors to share in the feeding experience. See our Dolphin FAQ for information.
Are dolphins fish or mammals?
Dolphins are mammals. They are warm-blooded, suckle their young, and breathe air.
Do dolphins sleep?
Unlike humans, breathing for dolphins is not a voluntary action - they have to think about it to do it. Because they can not shut down their brains completely to sleep like we do, dolphins 'sleep' by meditating with half of their brain at a time. In this fashion dolphins spend about one-third of their day 'sleeping' in short stints ranging from two minutes to two hours.
How big are bottlenose dolphins?
Bottlenose dolphins average between 2-4 metres in length and weigh around 200kg (440 lbs).
How big are calves when they are born?
On average calves measure between 0.7-1.2 metres at birth and weigh around 30 kg.
How do dolphins breed?
Female dolphins do not become sexually mature until their early 'teens'. After a 12 month gestation period, a single calf will be born, tail-first, and nursed by its mother for somewhere between 4-7 years. The mother will not have any more calves until it has weaned the first one.
How fast can they swim?
Bottlenose dolphins can reach speeds of up to 40 kmh, but their average cruising speed is around 5 kmh.
How long do they live?
In the wild, female bottlenose dolphins live into their late forties, while male life-spans are often significantly shorter.
How often and how much do you feed the dolphins at Monkey Mia?
The dolphins at Monkey Mia are wild, come and go as they please, and are not reliant upon humans for their complete diet. At the beach they are fed up to three times per day and only under the strict guidance of D.E.C. (Department of Environment and Conservation) officers. The dolphins receive a maximum of 2 kg of fish per day, requiring them to remain self-sufficient; their average daily intake being between 8-15 kg. The dolphins are not fed after 1 pm.
What species of dolphin visits Monkey Mia?
Bottlenose Dolphins. Scientific name: Tursiops Truncatus, which is derived from the Latin and Greek words for 'porpoise' and 'face'.