Amazon river dolphin

Species profile

Name: the Amazon river dolphin (Inia geoffrensis) – also known as the boto, bufeo, or pink river dolphin – is a species of toothed whale in the family Iniidae.

Appearance: Amazon river dolphins are the only dolphins in the world which are pink! When they are born they are grey and slowly turn pink as they get older. The final colour can range from light grey to flamingo pink and is influenced by their behaviour, location of their blood vessels, diet, and exposure to sunlight. When they are excited they can flush bright pink – similar to humans blushing!

Size: they are the largest species of river dolphin with adults reaching 2.5 metres long and weighing up to 185 kg.

Diet: they have one of the widest ranging diets among toothed whales – feeding on more than 50 different species of fish such as catfish, tetras, and piranhas. They also consume other animals such as river turtles and freshwater crabs.

Did you know: in Amazon mythology, river dolphins are said to turn into handsome young men during the night who try to seduce girls and impregnate them. In the morning they return to the river and become dolphins again. Legends suggest that anyone who makes eye contact with an Amazon river dolphin will have lifelong nightmares. They are also said to be the guardians of the Amazon manatee – and if anyone wants to find a manatee they must first make peace with the dolphins!

Location: they are the most widespread river dolphins and can be found across the Amazon in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. They are also found in the Orinoco river in Venezuela.

Best places to see Amazon river dolphins

According to reports submitted to WildSide, the best places to see Amazon river dolphins are as follows:

Place Chance to see User rating No. reports
very good

Photo credit: Doug Greenberg, under a Creative Commons license from Flickr

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