The ocean is not the only place that dolphins make their home. You can also find these beautiful and curious creatures across rivers in Southeast Asia and South America. Today we will be discussing the biggest River Dolphin in the world, the Amazon River Dolphin. While the river dolphins are very closely related to their cousins in the sea, there are a lot of physical and behavioral differences between them. They are commonly referred to as the “pink river dolphin” because the adults acquire a pink color to their skin caused by repeated abrasion and exposure to the sun. They live in relatively shallow murky waters which makes it almost impossible to see. They rely on the big melon on top of their head, using echolocation to navigate and hunt for prey. Unlike their cousins in the ocean, the river dolphin has an unfused vertebrae which means they can turn their heads 90 degrees (what?!). This helps them be more flexible and find food more efficiently in the close confines of the coursing river. River dolphins feed on fish, crab, shrimp, and just about anything else it wants to in the river. They have no real natural predator.
While there are many differences between the river dolphin and the ocean dolphin, one thing they have in common is that they are both vulnerable to being endangered and even extinct. The Amazon River dolphin faces threats from humans on many fronts. Just as the jaguar or sloth in the amazon relies on the river for survival, the river dolphin equally relies on the actual rainforest. The River dolphins habitat is thousands of miles of flooded rainforest during the wet season and deforestation is a grave threat to the species. That combined with the mass amounts of pollutants entering the water system every day, you realize how vulnerable this animal really is.
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