Top Porpoise, bottom Dolphin
|Feature||Dolphin Characteristic||Difference in a Porpoise|
A dolphin usually
has a pointed snout (beak)
||A porpoise snout is short and blunt
like a cartoon fish sketch
(never strongly pointed)
(Some species of both have no fin on their back)
|The leading edge of the fin on a dolphin's back
is shaped like a curling wave
(Called the dorsal fin)
The leading edge of a porpoise's back fin is
The porpoise's fin is also triangular like a shark's
The teeth ||Dolphins have pointed cone-shaped teeth
||Porpoise teeth are flat, spade shaped, with upper edges that are long and sharp|
|Size||Dolphins grow up to 12 feet long||Porpoises are usually less than 7 feet long|
|Shape||Dolphins are longer and sleeker in shape||Porpoises are shorter and more compact|
|Sounds||Dolphins produce sounds we can hear (and are talkative!)||Porpoise sounds are inaudible to us|
|Behavior||Dolphins have much less fear of humans - will ride the waves alongside boats||Porpoises are shy - you are much less
likely to see one - wild or captive.
Rarely seen at surface unless up to breathe.
|Groups||Dolphins live in large groups||Porpoises live in pods of 2 - 4|
|Lifespan||Dolphins can live for more than 50 years||Porpoises do not live long past the age of 15|
Dolphins are some of the only animals known to have sex for reasons other than reproduction.