jerry jackson
Photographed by Bette Jackson

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Source: Dolphins 4

Length of Segment: 00:01:15

Hi, I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson, out with the wild things. A young female bottlenose dolphin comes at breeding age sometime between the age of five and ten years, and a male, at about ten years of age. A breeding female is usually at least seven feet long, and a male, at least eight feet. A female produces a single calf after a gestation period of about twelve months. Because of a three year (or longer) dependency of the calf on its mother for milk, an adult female can only produce a calf every three to six years. Calves can be born at any time of year, but in Florida, there's a peak of calving in summer. When a calf is born, it's only about three feet long. It must quickly get to the surface for its first breath of air. For several months, it stays very close to its mother, close enough that it literally rides the pressure wave created by its mother's swimming. Thus, a tiny calf, without exerting much effort at all, can keep up with its family group. Older female offspring in a family group often assist in caring for young calves, thus, gaining experience that will help assure their own success as mothers.

'With the Wild Things' is produced at the Whitaker Center in the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University. For 'The Wild Things', I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson.

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