Cardigan Bay is on the west coast of Wales and has the UK’s biggest population of bottlenose dolphins. There are around 200 living in the Bay. They can be seen all year round, but the summer months are the best. Dolphins can be spotted from the Coast Path and are often spotted in the Bay at New Quay, where the Marine Centre Volunteers watch for them from the Harbour wall so they can record information on their numbers.
Cardigan Bay is also a good place to see Porpoise, Grey Seals and many nesting Sea Birds.
Bottle Nosed Dolphin Facts:
Common bottlenose dolphins can be quite large, reaching weights of up to 1400 lbs/640 kgs
They can grow to 12.5 feet/4 m in length
They live for more than 40 years
They produce one calf every 3 – 6 years
A bottlenose dolphin calf is born tail-first to prevent drowning
They cruise at around 6 miles/10km an hour with a maximum speed of 25 miles/40km an hour
They can be identified by nicks and notches on their dorsal fins using a technique called photo-identification
They are very chatty – they make a variety of sounds including whistles, clicks, squawks, and squeaks
They normally swim in pods/groups of 10-25. Offshore, they may swim in larger groups of several hundred called herds
Males live mostly alone or in groups of 2 – 3 and join the pods for short periods of time
They have almost 360 degree field of vision. They can also move each eye independently of the other
Adults eat about 5% of their body weight per day
They live underwater but must come to the surface to breathe air. This means they never fully sleep. One side of their brain is always working so that they remember to breathe
They breath through a hole at the top of their head which is known as a blowhole
They open their hole when inhaling and exhaling water and close it when they are underwater
Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre is a great place to visit when you are in New Quay to learn more about Bottlenose Dolphins and all the other marine life in the Bay.