Dolphins are known for being smart, playful creatures that can learn to perform impressive tricks. But you might not know that dolphins are also champion nappers who have helped the U.S. Navy protect nuclear warheads. Here are 15 facts about the cute, friendly cetaceans.
1. DOLPHINS ARE EXCELLENT NAPPERS.
Since dolphins can't breathe underwater, they need to swim up to the ocean's surface to get air. So how do they sleep without drowning? Essentially, dolphins are champion power nappers. Rather than sleep for several hours at a time, they rest one hemisphere of their brain for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, and they take these "naps" several times each day. By resting one hemisphere of their brain at a time, dolphins can continue swimming, breathing, and watching for predators 24/7.
2. DOLPHINS COMMUNICATE WITH CLICKS AND WHISTLES …
3. BUT DOLPHIN LANGUAGE REMAINS A MYSTERY.
Dolphins communicate with one another underwater by making a variety of vocalizations. To find prey and navigate the ocean, they make clicking sounds, and they "speak" to other dolphins by whistling. Dolphins also produce loud burst-pulse sounds when they feel excited or aggressive, such as when they need to scare off a nearby shark. Some female dolphins also produce a burst-pulse to reprimand their offspring, called calves, for bad behavior.