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hawaiian dolphin

Hawaii is known for its paradisiacal beaches and crystal clear waters, but also for its many tourist attractions, among the most famous — dolphin watching. Hawaiian dolphins are one of the most unique species of dolphins found in the world. They are known for their friendly behavior and playful nature. Dolphins in Hawaii are known for many bizarre, and incredible things, this is one of the primary reasons why they have become so popular among tourists and locals alike. 

Dolphins and their Importance to Hawaii

Dolphins are one of the most beloved and iconic animals in the world. They are known for their intelligence, playfulness, gracefulness, and social graces. The dolphins of Hawaii have a unique color pattern that makes them stand out from other dolphins. They have flippers, a dorsal fin, and smooth skin. They have a streamlined body and a long, narrow snout with roughly 100 teeth.

When dolphins surface, they breathe through a single blowhole on top of their head, which contains a flap that opens to show a pair of nostrils.  They have an eye on each side of their head which moves independently from the other. Therefore, dolphins can see ahead, to the side, and behind them all at the same time. Pretty neat, right?

Hawaiian dolphins also have a unique ability to communicate with each other through a variety of clicks and whistles, which is why they have become such a valuable scientific species— they are one of the only ones whose complex language rivals our own.

Hawaiian dolphins are important because they are an integral part of the Hawaiian ecosystem and culture. Like turtles, sharks, and other marine animals, dolphins have cemented themselves into the island’s spirit — both as a religious token and good luck totems. 

They are embedded into the island’s folklore. Into the magic that is those natural archipelagos.

Dolphins also play a critical role in the forestation and overall health of coral reefs, fish populations, and other marine life. They help to maintain a balance in the ocean’s food chain. They are an integral part of the ecosystem and play vital roles in maintaining it in tip-top shape.

Hawaiian dolphins also contribute to the state’s economy — bringing tourists to the islands. They provide a valuable source of income for the state. As such, dolphins in Hawaii are an indispensable part of Hawaii’s natural heritage and their current economy. They are one of the most important assets. This is one of the reasons why the island has spearheaded various conservation efforts on its behalf. 

Dolphins in the islands not only safeguard the environment, and give the State a distinctive mascot, but are also crucial as an income source — dolphins provide people with jobs.
hawaiian spinner dolphin

10 facts about Hawaiian dolphins

Hawaiian dolphins are particularly interesting due in part to some rather unique and bizarre features that make them stand out from other species. So let’s dive into the 10 amazing facts about dolphins of Hawaii: 

Hawaiian Spinner Dolphin

Hawaiian spinner dolphins are a distinctive species of dolphins. They are known for their acrobatic behavior and impressive jumps, some of which have up to seven full rotations. Jumps that can reach up to five feet in height. They feed on small fish, squid, and shrimp at night, typically by diving over 250 yards — 0.23 km.

Bottlenose dolphins

Atlantic bottlenose dolphins are named “bottlenose” due to their short, stubby rostrums, or beaks. They have between 80 -100 conical teeth.

Communication skills

Dolphins communicate with each other through a variety of clicks, whistles, and body language. Through their signature whistling, they give themselves “names.” And that same skill has different regional dialects — in other words, they speak different languages depending on where they were raised.

Diving and swimming skills

They can dive to depths of up to 1,000 feet – .3 km -, usually in search of prey, and swim up to 20 miles per hour – 32.19 km/h.


Their average lifespan is estimated at around 17 years, but some have been documented to live for up to 50 years of age.

Lack of sense of smell

Hawaiian dolphins are able to hear frequencies 10 times higher than adult humans can have keen eyesight both in and out of the water and have a highly developed sense of touch, yet they have no sense of smell.

Social creatures

Dolphins have been observed tending to the sick, old, and injured members of their pods. They have also been known to help divers and injured people out. Also, they are extremely sexually active animals.

Carnivorous marine creatures

They feed on fish, squid, and crustaceans. Small mammals like seals and sea lions have been known to be hunted and eaten by several dolphin species.

Playful with each other

Despite the fact that jellyfish can be fearsome and even lethal, dolphins have been seen throwing the gelatinous blobs about, back and forth,  between — like a poisonous hackysack.

Get high

Some dolphins have been seen playing with pufferfish, which emit poison when threatened. Scientists were at a loss as to why that was. Then they realized something rather startling — the puffers were being used by the dolphins as a recreational drug. The dolphins were getting intentionally “high” and swimming in circles as a result of this toxin’s narcotic impact.
dolphins in hawaii

Spotting Hawaiian dolphins

Spotting dolphins in Hawaii is an experience that many people dream of. There are plenty of opportunities and places to get a gander at these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. Whether you’re a beginner, an experienced observer, a nature enthusiast, a curious traveler, or simply someone with a bucket list item to cross off, there are a variety of ways to observe Hawaiian dolphins.

From boat tours and eco-tours to kayaking trips, snorkeling excursions, and whale-watching cruises, there’s a buffet of options available for those looking to catch a glimpse of Fipper and his gang. With the right escort, you can even learn more about them and their behavior while taking your photos and creating great memories with these incredible creatures.