Facts about the Porpoise

Facts About

Description of the Porpoise
The Porpoise is described as a marine cetacean mammal (of the order cetacea), such as the Harbor porpoise, of the family Phocaena, related to the whales and the dolphin. The term cetacean includes all 76 known species of whales, dolphins, and porpoises. Those more than 4 to 5 m (13 to 16 ft) long are generally referred to as whales, whereas smaller species are known as dolphins or porpoises. The porpoise has a blunt snout, many teeth and a triangular dorsal fin. The Porpoise is also called the sea hog. The origins of the name come from the Middle English word 'porpeis' meaning sea-pig - hence its alternative name of sea hog!

Echolocation - All porpoises can see, however as visibility is restricted underwater they have developed the use of a sonar system called  'echolocation' to find food when navigating and hunting for food. Their clicks make high-frequency sounds, and the echoes of these sounds bounce back which enables them to make a mental map. Using this mental map they are able to avoid the smallest of obstacles whilst locating their prey. In just a split second Echlocation enables them to determine the size of objects, their location, how fast they are

Differences between the Dolphin and the Porpoise
The Dolphin and the Porpoise are two different types of mammals:

  • Dolphins are larger, more streamlined and acrobatic
  • Porpoises are smaller and stockier with triangular dorsal fins or no dorsal fins at all
  • The dolphin dorsal fin is larger and more curved
  • Dolphins have a 'beak'
  • Porpoises are 'beakless', with a rounded snout
  • Dolphins travel in larger groups than porpoises
  • Dolphins produce sounds that humans can hear
  • Porpoises communicate at frequencies beyond the range of human hearing
Species of the Porpoise
There are six different species of Porpoise:
  • Phocoena spinipinnis - Burmeister's porpoises - named by the German biologist Burmeister
  • Phocoenoides dalli - Dall's porpoises - named after the zoologist W. H. Dall
  • Neophocaena phocaenoides - Finless porpoises - named by Cuvier
  • Phocoena phocoena - Harbor porpoises - named by Linnaeus
  • Australophocaena dioptrica - Spectacled porpoises - first described by the Argentinian naturalist Lahille
  • Phocoena sinus - Vaquita Porpoises - first described by American biologists Norris and McFarland

Facts about where Porpoises live and what they eat!
Porpoise are native to Indian, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
The common habitat is in oceans, shallow waters and estuaries
The diet of Porpoise consist of fish, shrimp, prawns, octopus and squid

Basic Facts about Porpoises
The name of a male is referred to as a male
The name of a female is referred to as a female
The name or offspring, or a baby Porpoise, is a calf
The average size of a litter is one
The collective name for a group of Porpoise is a Pod
The sound made by a Porpoise is referred to as a click

Facts about the Averages Size of the Male Porpoise
The  smallest are Harbor porpoise which are 1.8 metres long and weigh about 90 kilograms.

Cool and Fun Facts about the Porpoise
Some fascinating information & facts about the Porpoise - find our what a Tubercle, Pod, a Rostrum, a Melon, Blubber, Flukes and Blowholes are!

  • A group of porpoise is called a Pod

  • Their snouts, or beaks, are called the Rostrum
  • The Fatty tissue below a porpoises's skin helps to keep it warm and is called Blubber
  • Fins - the Pectoral Fins are used for stopping and steering and found on either side of the body
  • Fins - the Flukes are used for propelling through water and are located on the tail
  • Tubercles - Where the porpoise has no dorsal fin on its back it has a small ridge beginning just back from the blowhole and extending to the tail flukes; this ridge is covered in small circular bumps known as tubercles
  • This is a hole at the top of a porpoise's head called a Blowhole which is used for breathing and making sounds

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