Do Dolphins Have Hair? Here’s What We Found Out!

Dolphins are one of the most beloved creatures of the sea. With adorable human-like smiles, they will often approach divers to interact in a fun and peaceful way!
This isn’t too surprising, since dolphins are mammals. There are many mammals that have formed wonderful relationships with people throughout the ages, whether they have legs or fins.

A frequently asked question by dolphin lovers across the world is; do dolphins have hair?

Dolphins swimming

Do Dolphins Have Hair?

Dolphins are born with a small amount of hair located around their snout, which then falls out shortly after birth. Because of the dolphin’s blubber, they have no need for hair to keep them warm and will not grow any once born.

That’s why if you ever look at a dolphin up close or see pictures, they appear to be quite smooth and hair-free. After the whisker-like hair falls out, they live out the remainder of their lives hairless since hair doesn’t give them any benefits!

You can still see the evidence of these hairs throughout the rest of a dolphin’s life. The follicles will leave small spots around their face where the hairs once grew. They look kind of like cute freckles (but are not the same as freckles).

Do All Mammals Have Hair?

All mammals do have hair at one point in their lives, even if it’s only for the first few days after birth. Having hair is a defining characteristic of mammals, even if they eventually lose all the hair during their lifetime like dolphins. Hair is important for mammals because it helps to regulate body temperature and keep it at a constant level.

Since mammals are warm-blooded, being able to keep a high body temperature is important to survive. To keep from freezing in certain environments, a coat of hair on a mammal will become thicker which helps retain heat in cold climates. There is also the advantage of having hair that blends in with nature and helps you to stay alert and hidden from predators.

Mammals like dolphins, whales, or walruses will mostly use the fat in their blubber to keep warm, so they have very little visible hair.

Why Don’t Dolphins Keep Their Hair?

The lack of hair on their bodies helps them to swim faster, with less resistance on their streamlined body. This can be compared to professional swimmers who shave all of their body hair. Even small hairs can drag in the water and slow down a swimmer.

This increase in speed is advantageous to dolphins to be able to hunt and catch food. Fish are fast, so dolphins must be faster if they want to eat.

There are a few mammals that use blubber as the main way to insulate and keep warm. Dolphins and whales are two examples that have a thick layer of fat under their skin.

Because of this layer of fat, these animals don’t need huge amounts of thick hair on their bodies. However, dolphins prefer warmer climates, so they do not need to have a particularly thick layer of blubber.

Final Thoughts

Now you know the answer to the question: do dolphins have hair?

It’s interesting to learn that they are born with some but lose them quickly. Before learning about this I had just assumed like many others that hair on dolphins was so small it was hard to even notice!

One thing is for sure, dolphins are unique and interesting creatures and I can’t wait to learn and teach even more about them.

If you are lucky enough to have the chance to interact with dolphins, make sure to take a close look and you’ll see where they used to have hair!

Sources:

https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/dolphin_porpoise.html

https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/blubber/