The pink amazon river dolphin is one of several colors among the amazon river dolphin species.
Other colors for the amazon river dolphin include white, yellow, grey and brown.
When these marine mammals are young they go through a phase where their skin tone changes color and as they reach maturity their skin turns to either a light gray, blue or pinkish coloring with rare occurrences of an albino off white color.
The Amazon river dolphin is 1 of over 40 known species of dolphin and makes up one of five species of river dolphin.
The other known river dolphins include:
- The Chinese river dolphin
- The Ganges river dolphin
- The Indus river dolphin
- The franciscana (la plata) dolphin (the only known saltwater river dolphin)
As a whole dolphins belong to the cetacean species which also includes whales and porpoises and because they are marine mammals they are warm-blooded, breathe air, give birth to their young and produce milk to feed their children.
Physical Characteristics and Appearance
At their largest the pink amazon river dolphin can grow to be over 8 ft. long (not common) and weigh up to 450 pounds.
On average males tend to grow between 5 – 6 1/2 ft. long, while females typically grow larger than their male counterparts measuring between 5 1/2 - 8 ft. long with both species generally weighing under 250 lbs. when fully matured.
As their name suggests these dolphins are a pinkish color and are considered the most attractive among the amazon river dolphin species, which leads them to also being one of the most attacked during mating periods where males fight over the right to mate with a female.
These dolphins have long slender beaks and a hump instead of a dorsal fin.
They also have an un-fused neck which allow these dolphins to freely move their heads around in order to better observe their environment and navigate the rivers.
Unlike other species of dolphin the Amazon river dolphin has very poor eyesight and cannot rely on its eyes to search for food or navigate the rivers.
Instead they use echolocation to help them search for potential prey and find their way through the Amazon.
Diet and Hunting Methods
Their long snout allows them to borrow into narrow places such as hollowed logs and holes so that they can easily capture their prey.
Habitat and Social Structure
The pink amazon river dolphin can be found inhibiting south america and are found swimming throughout the Amazon and Orinoco rivers, typically in shallow freshwater waters.
During the rain season when the forest floods with water these dolphins can be seen covering thousands of square miles swimming past, under, and through trees and other debris commonly found spread throughout the rainforest.
This season is also a time when many dolphins begin to mate.
During mating season male dolphins can become very aggressive towards one another and cause serious injuries when competing for females.
It is believed that the pink amazon river dolphin is considered the most attractive dolphin of them all and is attacked far more often as a result by competing male dolphins.
Males are also known to carry objects in their mouths which are considered gifts or luxuries which they use to try to attract a female.
When the rain season ends and the water resides the pink amazon river dolphins are forced to travel back to their shallow rivers until the next rain season begins.
Reproduction and Lifespan
While the exact gestation period of these dolphins is unknown they are assumed to have an average gestation period of 10 – 11 months.
After birth female dolphins may nurse their young for up to 12 months.
Sexual maturity occurs between 5 1/2 – 6 1/2 ft. or between the ages of 4 – 6, at which point these dolphins may begin baring offspring of their own.
The average estimated lifespan is believed to be between 15 – 30 years.
Due to the facts that these dolphins live in shallow rivers they are able to avoid being hunted by oceanic predators such as killer whales and large sharks.
In fact humans are considered the only real threat to this species.
Boats, accidental fishing hazards, the construction of dams and pollution all contribute towards the endangerment of this species.
In some instances however these dolphins have been observed being hunted and/or eaten by other predators of the Amazon.
Animals that have been known to attack the pink amazon river dolphin include anacondas, caimans and jaguars which are all native to the Amazon.
10 Incredible pink amazon river dolphin facts
1) Because the pink amazon river dolphin is a marine mammal it is warm-blooded, gives birth to its young, produces milk and breathes air.
2) The pink amazon river dolphin makes up one of around 5 known species of freshwater dolphin; Others include the Chinese river dolphin, La Plata dolphin, Indus river dolphin and Ganges river dolphins.
3) These marine mammals are capable of using echolocation to search for food, navigate the rivers and maintain awareness of potential threats, even in environments that completely lack any sort of light.
4) The scientific name for these marine mammals is, “Inia geoffrensis”.
5) The pink amazon river dolphin is the largest cetacean among the freshwater dolphin species.
6) On average the female dolphin grows to be larger than their male counterpart with occasional differences in length measuring as long as 3 ft.
7) These marine mammals have an unfused neck that allows them to turn their head a full 90 degrees when searching for food or navigating the ocean.
8) The pink amazon river dolphin makes up one of around 90 known species of cetacea which includes all species of whale, dolphin and porpoise.
9) Although these marine mammals can mate any time of the year the majority of births occur between July and September.
10) Due to the fact that these marine mammals live in shallow waters they aren’t known to face the same predators that hunt oceanic dolphin species, however they are at risk of being attacked by other animals that inhibit the Amazon.