White-beaked dolphins come a little bigger, with a blunt, all-white muzzle and a pale patch behind the dorsal fin. You see them, especially around August, along the Atlantic seaboard and in the northern and central North Sea.
At up to 4m in length, Risso's dolphin is larger than most of its companion species. Blunt-headed, it could be mistaken for a pilot whale but for its dolphin hallmark, the sharp, recurved dorsal fin. Like the pilot whale, it is known to follow ships. In coastal waters, it is likely to appear from May to September, especially along the Atlantic seaboard, and in the Irish and northern North Seas. Another large dolphin is the bottlenose - and it is this dolphin which, through various forms of publicity, has lodged itself most in the minds of the general public. Inquisitive and friendly, bottlenose dolphins have formed close relations with man and have come to symbolise "dolphinkind".
With deep, muscular bodies that grow to over 4m long, they have entertained many a diver and boat-tripper. People have travelled in their thousands, for instance, to visit Funghi, a friendly bottlenose dolphin at Dingle, southern Ireland.
Another bottlenose, Freddie, made the waters of the Amble his home for years, boosting local tourism. Like many adoptive dolphins, he finally took off. But you can be sure that somewhere, some time, other friendly bottlenose dolphins will appear out of the blue to form new relationships with man.
|(top to bottom): bottlenose dolphin,
pilot whale and killer whale.
and white-beaked dolphin.