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NOW READING: How Long Do Dolphins Live?

How long do dolphins live

How Long Do Dolphins Live?

Dolphins are known to be fun and fascinating creatures in the sea. There are many films and stories as to how dolphins save the day. Though dolphins may never rescue you when you’re in danger, these remarkable animals could help people and researchers know more about the aquatic world. With that, many become curious about the lifespan of a dolphin, especially if you are fascinated by them. 

Decades may live in decades, but some factors may shorten their lifespan. That’s why in this blog, you will know more about how long do dolphins live and the lifespan of a dolphin. However, you will also know the reasons why the lifespan of a dolphin will not reach the ideal lifespan. 

Lifespan of a Dolphin

The lifespan of a dolphin varies according to the species and the environment they live in. For example, there are bottlenose dolphins that may reach 40 years old. Still, the average is from 15 to 16 years. Forty can be an old age for a dolphin – one that makes it to 40 is comparable to the human that lives to be 100. However, a study shows that the oldest dolphin reached 48 years of age, making their life expectancy more than 50. 

So, how long do dolphins live? In the wild, dolphins, like the bottlenose, can live from 30-50 years. However, studies show that dolphins' life expectancies and survival rates in the US zoological facilities significantly increased over the few decades. This makes the average life expectancy of dolphins to be 28-29 years of age. 

Here is the other dolphin specie’s lifespan: 

Orka Dolphins: 10-45 years

In the wild, orca dolphins have an average life expectancy of 50 years old to females. However, at the same time, some may live 80-90 years. 

Striped Dolphins: 55-60 years 

Striped dolphins can live throughout the world’s tropical oceans. However, they prefer to live deeper offshore, and they can always be found on oceanic waters, over the continental shelves. If they continue to live in those places, they could live up to 60 years. 

Pantropical Spotted Dolphin: 40 years 

Though the average is 40 years old, the maximum lifespan for pantropical dolphins can reach 46 years. Their maturity may occur between 11-12 years 

Short-finned pilot whale: 45 years

The average life expectancy of female long-finned pilot whales could reach about 50 years. At the same time, the average lifespan of the female short-finned pilot whales could live longer, at about 63 years. However, for males, the average lifespan could reach only up to 46 years.  

Lifespan of a dolphin

Longevity of Dolphins 

According to Scientific studies, the survivorship of dolphins has been examined by determining the yearly survival rate of the population of dolphins. Read down below to know more: 

The survival rates of dolphins increased in aquariums or mammal parks. It has an annual survival rate of 97% for dolphins. Of which, almost 97% of the population is the expected survival rate for the next year. With this, it has a corresponding median life span of about 22.8 years. 

There are also survival rates reported for the wild populations that vary from 90.2% to 96.1%. It has a median life that spans between 8.3 and 17.4 years. The differences may be because of the differences in the methodology study. It may also reflect true lifespan variations in different populations. 

How long can a dolphin lives

Threats that may Affect the Lifespan of a Dolphin

Like drylands, the ocean can be a dangerous place to live. Even though dolphins and humans alike eat seafood, the dolphins can still encounter many health risks because of toxic algae and tainted water supplies. Here are some of the threats that may shorten the lifespan of a dolphin. 

Signs of Insulin 

A dolphin’s body shows signs of insulin resistance when they’re asleep. This is associated with type 2 diabetes. However, once they’re awake, they become normal again and show no sign of insulin resistance. Because of this, Scientists are already studying this happening and hopes to discover treatments for humans. And though dolphins turn insulin resistance off, they may still experience problems that are the same as diabetes. 

How long can a dolphin live

Predator Threats 

How long do dolphins live? Even though dolphins avoid sharks, the shark may still attack the dolphins even if they are young and sick. Young dolphins can’t swim as fast as adult ones. They can’t even protect themselves from attackers. 

When a female dolphin gives birth, other dolphins must surround her and the calf against sharks. However, even if they have adult protection, some dolphin species may die right before they reach maturity. In addition, killer whales, also known as dolphins, may also attack young and regular dolphins. 

What is the lifespan of a dolphin

Illnesses and Diseases 

Dolphins may end their lives early when they strand themselves on the sea. Lone dolphins usually become stranded because of injury and illnesses. Mass stranding happens for some reasons: Dolphins in a group follow their leaders when they move out of the water, going to the shore. 

Dolphins that also navigate using the earth's magnetic field may strand themselves right after the magnetic field disturbance occurs. A sloping beach may also affect the lifespan of a dolphin as it’s hard for them to detect the beach before they land on the shore. 

What is the life cycle of a dolphin


Before knowing how long dolphins live, you should also know that they may suffer from bacterial, fungal, and viral infections. These are some examples of parasitism, and they may develop skin diseases, stomach ulcers, heart disease, tumors, and even respiratory disorders. Parasites may also affect the dolphins that include flukes, tapeworms, and roundworms. 

Impacts of Humankind 

Humans are also a great factor that affects the lifespan of dolphins. Coastal animals, including dolphins, are greatly affected by pollution, habitat loss, and heavy boat traffic. In addition, the agricultural and industrial pollutants may enter coastal habitats through runoffs. This may result in higher toxin levels, both in dolphin tissues and water. 

Key Takeaway 

How long do dolphins live? Dolphins can live freely and longer if they are properly taken care of. Understandably, we can’t control what they are doing in the sea, but the least we can do is take care of the ocean. Humans, too, have impacts on this creature and all other sea creatures. 

Humans, as we are, we only take care of the world we live in, without thinking about other creatures like dolphins. We can start by taking good care of the place they call “Home.” That way, you are helping them to live longer, without pain and suffering. 

And if you also want to take care of the ocean, you may check out our ATOLEA Jewelry for more Dolphin-inspired jewelry. This will make you remember how important dolphins’ lives are and that taking care of them starts within us. 

You can also dive into our wide selections of Ocean-inspired jewelry designs and bring the spirit of the Ocean life with you everywhere you go!

How long can dolphins live

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