WHY DO THEY LIVE HERE?
For various reasons pilot whales and bottlenose dolphins have settled off the south west coast of Tenerife and have become permanent inhabitants: the food supply, which is abundant; the tranquil waters, protected from the trade winds by the mountainous landscape of the island; as well as the good climate and quality of crystal-clear waters, have created a paradise and ideal setting for these marine mammals.
MAMMALS THAT LIVE IN THE SEA
Cetaceans, which include whales, dolphins and porpoises, are marine mammals and are more similar to humans than fish, despite living in the sea. Just like humans, they are warm-blooded and breathe oxygen through their lungs, meaning they have to reach the surface for air, which consequently allows visitors to see them in their natural habitat. Cetaceans are fascinating creatures. They are able to live in the sea, a hostile environment for humans, and are extremely mobile in water, an enviable asset.
Evolution has seen these animals become adapted to life under water, which allows females to give birth to their babies in water and capable of feeding them with their own milk without having to come up to the surface.
Cetaceans are fascinating creatures, capable of the most agile of movements under water, despite their size when compared to us humans. Although similar in size, it is easy to differentiate a shark from a cetacean. Whilst sharks have a vertical-positioned tail, cetaceans have a horizontal-positioned tail
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHALES AND DOLPHINS
Generally speaking, although scientifically incorrect, a cetacean is considered a whale if it is over four metres long, and any other cetaceans measuring less than 4 metres belong to the dolphin family. The order Cetacea comprises two groups: toothed cetaceans (odontoceti) and baleen cetaceans or whales (mysticeti).
The first group, toothed cetaceans, include dolphins, beaked whales and sperm whales, all of which use their teeth to capture prey, which is then swallowed whole.
The mysticeti order of cetaceans, associated with large whales, have plates hanging from the upper jaw, allowing them to filter sea water and capture food such as krill or small fish.