Dolphins are among the most intelligent animals on Earth, and since ancient times, they have captivated the hearts and minds of humans. In many ways, they are almost human. Like us, they give birth to live young, and the process of childbirth can be just as exhausting for a mother dolphin. When you factor in dolphins’ need for air and hungry predators like sharks lurking around, dolphins moms have a rough time.
Yet, in a touching moment, a group of humans gets to opportunity to watch a wild mother bottlenose dolphin give birth in the shallows of the ocean. Here, outside the confines of a cramped aquarium tank, they are able to witness this rare aspect of dolphin behavior.
On average, bottlenose dolphins are pregnant for 12 months, and like this mother dolphin, they generally prefer to give birth in shallow water.
Here, in a matter of minutes, the baby dolphin slides out of its mother’s womb tail first and quickly rushes to the surface for its first breath of air.
Unlike humans, baby dolphins are precocial, which means they are relatively mature and mobile at birth. This evident because newborn dolphins resemble miniature versions of their parents, and they are excellent swimmers. Newborn bottlenose dolphins are 2.6 to 4.6 feet (0.8 to 1.4 meters) long and weigh 20 to 66 pounds (9 to 30 kilograms).