Ganges River Dolphin

(Platanista gangetica gangetica)

Introduction

If you are moving through India or Nepal, you can stop by the river banks of the Ganges in order to find the rare species of the Ganges River Dolphin. This dolphin is unique because of it’s features as well as the way that it lives, allowing it to become recognized as a river specimen worth looking into.

Ganges River Dolphin Facts

While some types of dolphins can move swiftly in order to capture their food, the Ganges River Dolphin distinguishes itself by moving slower than other species. For this reason, they will feed in different ways and will always remain closer to the bottom of the river beds.

One of the distinguishing features of the Ganges river dolphins is their capacity to adapt to the changes that happen with the Ganges river. Specifically, the dolphins are known to migrate into different areas of the river when flood season is occurring. At other times, they are found closer to canals and places in which rivers join in order to survive. Much of this is dependent not only on the season, but also on whether the dolphin is traveling with others or is alone.

“The Ganges River Dolphin can only be found in the fresh water rivers of Bangladesh, India, and Nepal.”

Like many other dolphin species, this one is also in deep danger of becoming extinct, and has been on the endangered species list since the 1950s. This is attributed to hunting and fishing in the area. However, it is also known that this dolphin lives in one of the most densely populated areas on the planet. This is causing problems with the ecology of the water and is stifling the habitat in which the Ganges River Dolphin can live.

Feeding

The diet of Ganges River Dolphins includes a wide range of fish, turtles and birds that are located around the Ganges river. They are more diverse in their eating habits than other river dwelling dolphins, including diets such as catfish, carp, clams, turtles and occasionally birds.

Because this species likes to dwell in the deeper parts of the river, it will also try to find most of it’s food in a similar area. This is done by swimming close to the bottom of the river floor sideways, while opening it’s snout whenever food is seen close by.

Reproduction

The Ganges River Dolphin will only have one calf at a time. Typically, the Ganges River Dolphin will mature at an older age, with females not becoming ready to breed until they are at an average of six to ten years old.

The Ganges River Dolphin will breed in a similar way to other dolphins, which includes breeding during the beginning of the year, and remaining pregnant for an average of 10 – 12 months.

After a calf is born, they will remain with their mother for one year. Typically, they will nurse for an average of two months, then start eating solid food; however, some will continue to nurse as well for up to one year.

Anatomy

Many consider the Ganges River Dolphin to be a sub-species of the Indus river dolphin. However, recent research has found a difference in appearances and has allowed the dolphin to remain as a separate species.

The attributes of this dolphin include a longer beak and large flippers.

They are also known because their body is somewhat larger than other species, not only in size, but also in weight. Even the smaller dolphins, which can be around five feet, will be able to get up to a weight that is at an average of 200 pounds. This makes them a large species dolphin, and distinguishes them from other types of dolphins.

Conclusion

The uniqueness of this dolphin is on the way that it has built it’s survival methods and habitat. While some of the attributes are similar to other dolphins, it has also built a distinguishing way of setting itself apart as one of the great species of river dolphins.

 

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