Pink Dolphin Facts! Where Can You Find Them And Why Are They Pink?

Abhijeet Modi
Nov 02, 2023 By Abhijeet Modi
Originally Published on Jan 18, 2022
Pink dolphin facts will help you know more about the Ganges river dolphin.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 8.3 Min

Do you know that five species of dolphins live in rivers, the most well-known of which is the pink dolphins?

The Amazon river dolphin, also known as the pink river dolphin, belongs to the family of toothed whales. Pink dolphins aren't the same as the regular gray dolphins you see in the water; they've evolved to fit their environment.

River dolphins are only distantly related to sea dolphins. Amazon pink dolphins are the most intelligent of the five species of river dolphins, with a cognitive capacity 40 % more than that of humans.

The Amazon River is home to pink dolphins, but they can also be found in the Orinoco basins and the upper Madeira River. Although they are primarily pink, these dolphins have a variety of skin colors, including light grey, pink, and brown.

The Amazon River pink dolphins make up the world's most significant population of river dolphins, while the other four species are either extinct or on the verge of extinction. Pink dolphins are also found in parts of Asia.

Pink Dolphin: Fact Or Fiction?

Is there any creature more beautiful than a dolphin? They're one of the most intelligent animals on the planet, with beauty and grace to match.

Watching dolphins leap from the sea into the air is a thrilling experience. They're pretty easy to detect with big beaks, round heads, and bright pink skin! Wait.

Is it possible for dolphins to have pink skin? Isn't it true that the majority of dolphins are gray? And what about those long beaks? That may not seem quite right if you've seen a lot of saltwater dolphins. However, we're discussing a distinct freshwater dolphin. To be precise, the Amazon river dolphin!

The boto is another name for the Amazon river dolphin. Pink river dolphin inhabits the Amazon and Orinoco River basins in South America. Thousands of miles of rainforest are flooded when rivers overflow. This increases the size of the boto's habitat. Botos can be spotted swimming in and around wet tree roots and other rainforest plants during rainy seasons.

These freshwater dolphins have a longer beak and a rounder forehead than other dolphins you've probably seen. These marine dolphins are also smaller, standing roughly 8 ft (2.4 m) tall and weighing around 450 lb (204 kg). Many Amazon river dolphins have vivid pink skin, including the Bolivian river dolphin.

The Amazon pink river dolphin is the subject of various South American tales, not all positive. According to one mythology, dolphins transform into their human form known as 'boto encantado' at night to seduce young girls in the Amazon region.

Another legend holds that if you go swimming alone, the dolphins will whisk you away to a mystical undersea city, causing locals to avoid coming near the water between nightfall and dawn or entering water bodies alone.

Some say they are also the protectors of the Amazon manatees. Thus anyone hoping to see one must first encounter the pink dolphin.

Harming dolphins is considered bad luck, and eating them is even worse.

Dangerous Pink Dolphins

Most of the time, dolphins do not pose a threat to humans. Indeed, the creatures are curious, friendly, and approachable.

They have a lot of fun with humans, teasing them and trying to get their attention. There have even been reports of the animal defending people from sharks or assisting a lost person returning to land.

Dolphins are only likely to attack humans when they are irritated or provoked. If you come across a river dolphin and wish to feed them, be aware that this may be illegal.

Pink Dolphin: Hong Kong Facts

The pink dolphins of Hong Kong are Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins, often known as Chinese white dolphins. Their skin isn't pink; the creatures dwell in muddy waters with little sunlight, so coloring isn't an issue.

The dolphins' bubblegum pink color comes from warm blood flowing through vessels close to the skin's surface.

Pink dolphins have long been a popular tourist attraction in Hong Kong and a part of the city's maritime history. In 1637, British adventurer and writer Peter Mundy discovered and reported the unusual species along the Pearl River in Hong Kong.

Since then, their population has shrunk dramatically, and they are on the verge of extinction unless we do something to help.

Pink River Dolphin Baby Facts

A pink river dolphin is a mammal that belongs to the subgroup of marine mammals known as dolphins. They have baby dolphins and, unlike fish, have lungs that allow them to breathe air.

Male dolphins mature when they reach a length of roughly 7 ft (2.1 m), while female dolphins mature when they reach a length of 5.5 ft (1.6 m). July and September are the most common months for calves to be born. The gestation period is approximately 9-12 months long.

When they reach their first birthday, dolphins are about 21 in (53.3 cm) long and weigh about 15 lb (6.8 kg).

Most dolphin species use slow-wave sleep to rest one hemisphere of their brain. These freshwater dolphins remain attentive enough to keep breathing and keep an eye out for Amazon river dolphin predators while in this state.

The dolphins of the Indus River sleep in a unique way. The dolphin must remain vigilant to avoid injury because it lives in waters with strong currents and much floating debris. The dolphin sleeps in small bursts of 4-60 seconds to keep itself secure.

Amazon dolphins can move forward with one flipper while paddling backward with the other.

Pink River Dolphin Body Facts

The Amazon pink river dolphin is the largest and most intelligent but sadly the most endangered species of the five freshwater species. A fully grown dolphin can reach a length of 9 ft (2.7 m), a weight of 400 lb (181 kg), and a lifespan of 30 years.

Their food consists of more than 53 species, including piranhas, and is the most diversified among toothed whales (particularly during the wet season). Pink dolphins also have larger brains than humans, with 40 % more brain capacity!

Despite their reputation as shy creatures, they are enthralled by people and play curiously with local youngsters without displaying violent tendencies. They also communicate by creating a three-dimensional echogram of their dark riverine world with high-frequency sonar pings.

That is the actual puzzle. Botos turn pink for unknown reasons, according to experts. However, they know that all Amazon river dolphins are born with grey skin. Later in life, some of them, primarily males, turn pink.

They often become pinker as they get older. Some specialists believe pink skin is scar tissue. Male botos have a reputation for fighting a lot.

As their bodies amass battle scars, they may turn pink. This could also explain why botos get pinker as they get older. After all, older dolphins are more likely to have been involved in more conflicts and to have more scars.

The pinkest color is found in adult males. The pink dolphin has a reputation for being blind, according to legend. This isn't the case at all in reality. While the Amazon pink dolphin's eyes are small and spherical, they have excellent vision.

With few pink dolphins left, the species' future is bleak, primarily if appropriate conservation measures are not implemented. The amount of waste poured into Hong Kong's oceans is one of the leading causes of their dwindling numbers.

Human development and farming have had a significant impact on river dolphin habitats. These operations have influenced the ecosystem of the waterways. Human fishing is a threat to the dolphin species as well. Overfishing is an issue because it depletes the food source of animals.

Another concern to the Amazon river dolphin is pollution. Small gold mining operations cause mercury pollution, and it reaches dolphins through the food chain. River dolphins eat a lot of catfish, which live on the bottom of waterways and accumulate mercury.

Dolphins in the Amazon River are Critically Endangered. The Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources has taken measures to safeguard dolphins. The killing of dolphins by fishers is now prohibited.

Pink river dolphins, unlike other dolphins, have unfused vertebrae in their necks, making them highly agile. They can maneuver past tree trunks, boulders, and other impediments because they can tilt their heads 90 degrees. They may also use one flipper for swimming forward while the other is used to paddle backward, allowing them to turn with greater precision.

They are frequently spotted swimming upside down, probably to improve their vision on the river's bottom. Despite their small eyes, they have excellent vision above and underwater and, because of their superb sense of echolocation, have little trouble navigating the Amazon's muddy waters to catch their prey.

As the name suggests, the Amazon pink river dolphins slowly turn pink. These are freshwater river dolphins. The Amazon Basin, the upper Madeira River in Bolivia, and the Orinoco Basin, respectively, are home to the three subspecies of the Amazon pink river dolphin.

Pink river dolphins eat up to 53 different types of fish, including small fish like croakers, catfish, tetras, and piranhas, making up one of the most diverse toothed whale diets. Other species that they eat include river turtles and freshwater crabs.

Despite its small size, the dorsal fin is considered lengthy, and the pectoral fins are likewise enormous in these Amazon river dolphins. When crossing flooded forests and obtaining prey, the fin size, unfused vertebrae, and relative size enable enhanced maneuverability.

Amazon river dolphins' distribution in rivers and surrounding areas vary according to the time of year; during the dry season, Amazon river dolphins are found in the Amazon river basin, but during the rainy season, when rivers overflow, pink dolphins disperse to flooded areas, including both forests and plains.

The Amazon pink river dolphins are the world's largest. The life expectancy of the Amazon pink river dolphins in the wild is unknown.

However, healthy animals have been reported to live between 10-30 years in captivity. The Amazon pink river dolphins are generally observed alone or in pairs, but these Amazon river dolphins also are found in pods of up to eight individuals.


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Written by Abhijeet Modi

Master of Computer Science

Abhijeet Modi picture

Abhijeet ModiMaster of Computer Science

An experienced and innovative entrepreneur and creative writer, Abhijeet holds a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Computer Application from Birla Institute of Technology, Jaipur. He co-founded an e-commerce website while developing his skills in content writing, making him an expert in creating blog posts, website content, product descriptions, landing pages, and editing articles. Passionate about pushing his limits, Abhijeet brings both technical expertise and creative flair to his work.

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