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How Dolphins Sleep

To sleep, a bottlenose dolphin must shut down only half of its brain, as its breathing is under voluntary control. Dolphins take short catnaps, floating just below the surface, then slowly rising to breathe. Often dolphins are very active during nighttime, for some this is their main feeding time.

A dolphin's behavior when sleeping or resting depends on the circumstances and possibly on individual preferences. They can either:

  • Swim slowly and surface every now and then for a breath.
  • Rest at the surface with their blowhole exposed.
  • Rest on the bottom (in shallow water) and rise to the surface every now and then to breathe.

Generally, female bottlenose dolphins lie on the water's surface with their blowholes exposed to the air; male dolphins sleep just below the surface and rise to breathe periodically as a reflex action.

Dolphin Info:  
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» Body Language  
» Sleeping  
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