River Dolphins

River dolphins look very different to Bottlenosed and other ocean dolphins, with a much longer snout and smaller eyes.

 

They include the Amazon River dolphin in South America, the Ganges River in India, and the Yangtze River dolphin (or Baiji) in China, which may now be extinct.

 

Because rivers can be so murky, river dolphins are less reliant on their eyes, and rely much more on echo-location.

 

Amazon Pink River or 'Boto' dolphins are found throughout the Amazon and Orinoco. During the rainy season, the rivers flood huge areas of forest. Amazon river dolphins specialise in hunting in the flooded forest, using its long snout to find fish in hollow logs and thickets of submerged vegetation.

 

When the flood waters go down, the dolphins go back to the main rivers and lakes to feed on shell fish, crabs, small turtles, catfish, shrimp, and piranha.

 

Locals tell stories of Amazon river dolphins becoming handsome young men who romance girls before returning to the river again. Dolphin shapeshifters are called 'encantado'.

 

South Asian River dolphins live in the freshwater river systems of Nepal, India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. They like slow moving rivers with plenty of prey.

 

River dolphins are threatened by human pollution, fishing and boat traffic. Yangtze river dolphins have been wiped out in recent years by humans.