Bottlenose dolphins are present in most oceans and seas of the world and adapt quickly to several types of habitat.

Their thermoregulation capacity allows them to live in waters ranging from 10 to 32 degrees Celsius, which includes temperate, tropical and subtropical areas of the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian Ocean, as well as the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea between Europe and Asia. The regions that avoid are the polar zones, but some individuals move through the north of Europe, whose waters have low temperatures.

In the Pacific, their distribution range is from northern Japan to Australia and from southern California to Chile in the eastern Pacific Ocean including all the vast area in the middle.

In the Atlantic ocean, they dwell from Nova Scotia to Patagonia in the West and from Norway to South Africa in the East including all the eastern coast of the United States, and the Gulf of Mexico.

Bottlenose dolphin habitat includes bays, open waters, coastal areas, lagoons, estuaries, tidal areas and shallow areas. They even venture occasionally into some rivers.

The other bottlenose species, the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin, is also distributed in tropical and subtropical areas in specific regions of the ocean. This dolphin inhabits from western South Africa to Japan, including eastern and western Australia and places such as the Red Sea, Persian Gulf, Solomon Islands and the Indo-Malay archipelago.

The Indo-Pacific dolphin lives near the coasts of continental shelves, at depths of less than 300 meters and around oceanic islands. It frequently visits estuaries and coral reefs where fish banks thrive, and a significant amount of cephalopods live. Therefore it tolerates salt water and brackish waters.