Bottlenose dolphin Tursiops truncatus

The most familiar of the dolphins and the most likely to be seen from British shores, the Bottle-nosed Dolphin is found all round the world. Closer to home, the best places to see these dolphins are the Moray Firth in Scotland, Cardigan Bay in Wales and the coasts of Cornwall, Devon and Dorset. They are social animals, usually found in small groups of up to 15 animals. They are very acrobatic, often jumping out of the water or even doing somersaults. Bottle-nosed Dolphins feed on fish.


A large, fairly plain grey dolphin, darker above and paler below. Beak is short and dorsal fin is large, triangular and curved backwards.


Length: up to 4m Weight: 500kg Average Lifespan: 45-50 years


Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981, listed under CITES Appendix II and classified as a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. Also protected under the Conservation (Natural Habitats, etc.) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1995


Found all around the UK.

When to see

January – December


Bottle-nosed Dolphins are thought to be one of the most intelligent animals. They are easily taught to perform tricks and are often seen in aquaria; Flipper was a Bottle-nosed Dolphin too. These dolphins are also known to help those needing aid – often rescuing people from drowning or shark attack.

Common name

Bottlenose dolphin

Species name

Tursiops truncatus

When to see in Scotland

January – December

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