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The Story of Harvey
Harvey is a bottlenose dolphin named by Kathleen McCaughey as part of the Pacific Whale Foundation Name-an-Animal program.
Bottlenose dolphins are part of the "toothed whale" family called odontocetes. Most bottlenose dolphins have 18 to 25 teeth on each side of the upper jaw and 18 to 24 teeth on each side of the lower jaw -- a total of 76 to 98 teeth. Just like humans, dolphins have one set of teeth for life.
Wild bottlenose dolphins eat a wide variety of fish and invertebrates such as squid and cuttlefish. Their sharp teeth are used for grasping prey, but not for chewing. Dolphins swallow fish whole, head first. Swallowing the fish in this way helps the dolphin avoid injury from the tail spines or fins of the fish.
Bottlenose dolphins work cooperatively to feed, with group members encircling their prey to catch it. They may also whack prey with their tail flukes to stun it.
Male bottlenose dolphins will also use their teeth to "rake" each other when they are fighting with one another to gain access to a sexually receptive female. The resulting scars will help us determine if a dolphin is a male, at those times when we cannot get a good view of his underside.
It is very common to see bottlenose dolphins in groups, or pods. Studies have found that the dolphins within a pod are generally not closely related. The pod composition fluctuates, as dolphins move into and out of the pod. A dolphin may associate with one pod one day and be found in another pod the next day.
Some dolphin relationships are long lasting. Mothers and calves will remain together for three to six years. Some male adults will form long-term pair bonds that can endure for a lifetime!
Harvey was sighted with 5 others in deep water on April 10, 2013 and the pod began to approach the vessel. Harvey was resighted on August 12, 2014 in a pod of 20 bottlenose dolphins with a single calf in the pod. Part of the pod approached the vessel and engaged in bow riding. The pod was also milling around, tail slapping, porpoising, and spy hopping.
Researchers identify individual dolphins not by their faces, but by their dorsal fins. If you look closely at Harvey's dorsal fin, you will see the distinctive notches and scar patterns that can be used for identification.
We thank you for adopting Harvey. Your adoption supports the ongoing research at Pacific Whale Foundation.