Creatures of the Amazon
Pink Dolphin

By Mike Collis
The Pink Dolphin (inia geofrensis) is a warm blooded mammal, endemic to the Amazon River and the Orinoco River watersheds. In Brazil they are called Boto, and in Peru Bufeo, or Bufeo Colorado.


Coloration of the Pink Dolphin varies from shockingly pink to gray outlined in light pink. Older males are pinkest and younger females tend toward gray with a pink cast around the edges.
The Pink Dolphin head houses a brain estimated to have 40% more capacity than humans, and a bulbous area that contains the echolocation organs for sonar, emitting a series of 30 to 80 pulse clicks per second like popcorn popping at frequencies of up to 170 kilohertz.

Pink Dolphins are the only dolphins with flexible necks, allowing for 180 degrees of movement. Their tails are horizontal flukes, similar to whales. In place of a dorsal fin there is just a hump.

Pink Dolphins grow to 6 1/2 to 8 1/2 feet long (2 to 2.6 meters). Females weigh between 180 and 260 pounds (80-120 kg). Males weigh between 260 and 400 pounds (120-180 kg).

Females give birth to a single calf, the first one usually when the mother is between the age of 6 and 10 years old. Gestation is around 11 months, lactation over a year. The mother takes care of the calf for approximately 2 1/2 years.

A Pink Dolphin eats between 6-10 pounds (2.7-4.5 kg) of small fish per day, plus small crabs and turtles. Their food source is usually less than 1 inch long.

Pink Dolphin swim slowly at 3 or 4 miles per hour looking for food, but can sustain bursts of up to 14 mph. Their dives usually last less than 2 minutes, but they can stay down four minutes.

They are more solitary than most dolphins, frequently feeding alone or in small family units of two or three, preferring the confluence of two rivers or the opening of a lake into a river, however, twice I have observed groups of 30 or more feeding together.

There are estimated to be tens of thousands of Amazon River Pink Dolphins. They are listed as vulnerable, not endangered.
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