How Long Can Dolphins Stay Underwater (And Why)?

How Long Can Dolphins Stay Underwater (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 8 To 10 Minutes

Dolphins are great creatures in the world. They are extremely playful and social animals, and they have a unique ability to communicate with each other through clicks, whistles, and body language. 

They’re one of the few animals that can truly thrive in both the ocean and freshwater environments, and they’re also one of the few mammals that can breathe and stay underwater for an extended period. 

Dolphins are also extremely talented swimmers; they can stay underwater for 8 to 10 minutes and sometimes 15 minutes while hunting for food or playing with friends. 

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How Long Can Dolphins Stay Underwater?

Dolphins stay underwater8-10 days
Whales stay underwater for60 minutes

Whether one is a fan of dolphins or not, they have to admit that they are incredible creatures. 

Dolphins swim near the surface to breathe, but they can still stay submerged for 8 to 10 minutes. When a dolphin dives down, an automatic response causes the animal’s spleen to compress air and release it into its lungs.

It is about the diving behavior of dolphins. There are several different dive profiles recorded in the literature. Still, dolphins descend by swimming straight downward at a steep angle or sometimes just by dropping from the surface without curving their body as they go below. 

A bottlenose dolphin will take longer dives during feeding periods compared with resting periods and will hang nearly motionless near deep-sea objects such as wreckages or large schools of fish before making lengthy movements back up towards the surface again. 

Dolphins are remarkable animals who possess many adaptations to survive in the deep oceans they inhabit; not least of which is their ability to hold their breath for long periods.

Overall, dolphins can stay underwater for periods ranging from 8-10 minutes. A dolphin will rise to the surface for air and then plunge back down multiple times during its life. They can store oxygen in their blood and lungs, which is more hydrogen than we humans have access to. 

Additionally, dolphins need more oxygen than people because they’re constantly swimming and active on land. That’s why, while some dolphins do return to the surface on occasion, others never come up at all. 

Why Would Dolphins Stay Underwater For So Long?

Dolphins and other toothed whales use an adaptation of their lungs called a phonic lip. The air in the dolphin’s lungs is held below the outer surface of tissues that line the inside of its throat, and vocalizing creates vibrations that allow sound waves to pass through.

As saltwater conducts sound better than air at certain frequencies, this additional structure aids dolphins in detecting prey or listening for their young from far distances.

It also allows them to stay submerged for longer periods, as there is much less risk they will run out of oxygen. Dolphins can hold their breath for 8 to 10 minutes and remain aware and active underwater despite not breathing.

Excessive depths can lead to decompression sickness, which can be fatal. Dolphins may also be trying to protect themselves from predators at the surface or to prey on deepwater dwellers such as squid, octopus, and shrimp.

If they stayed near the surface, their catch might be stolen by other creatures such as killer whales or large fishes like tuna who swim below their target species then swiftly rise through a broad net of bubbling water to grab prey with a set of sharp teeth on their lower jaw.

Dolphins move very well when they swim on the ground, so it would take them less than a minute to get back to where they started – but moving through the water, they propel themselves quickly by changing directions with quick tail movements.


Ultimately, dolphins stay underwater only for a specific period. One can see them at the surface of the water; they’re either turning back to breathe or coming up for air and then racing back down to escape predators such as killer whales and sharks

This is also because it gives them an amazing ability to fish and other prey. Sometimes after inhaling, dolphins also exhale and spray water at the surface. This is also because the dolphins rely on nature to regulate their body temperature.

Since dolphins come up for air frequently, many people navigate the ocean and spot them.


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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.

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